County and Hyde Park team up for 21st century policing

Officer Brandon, Sgt. Moore, Col. Marchi, Chief Benson, and Supervisor Rohr.

HYDE PARK – The Town of Hyde Park police department, the fourth busiest department in the county, has gone live with a new computer system that improves officer safety and saves money for the taxpayers.

Through a Dutchess County “Shared Services” grant, the Hyde Park Police have received New World software that assists with computer-aided dispatching, records management, and other technology that greatly improves efficiency and officer safety, according to Hyde Park Police Chief Robert Benson.

Until recently, the computers in Hyde Park patrol vehicles were not connected to the internet.  The laptops were basically used to generate traffic tickets and accident reports.  “We had no accessibility to additional resources or records without going through dispatch,” said Benson, adding “That’s a dangerous situation for police officers.”

L-R Chief Benson, Supervisor Rohr, Sgt. Moore (leaning to computer) and Colonel Marchi at the police dispatch center.

If the town had purchased the system, including software and eight mobile computers for the vehicles, the taxpayers would have paid $755,000 initially and then $70,000 each year for the required maintenance and upgrades.  By taking advantage of the county’s purchasing power and technical assistance, the town saved $691,000.  The equipment and installation, and first-year maintenance cost the town just over $64,000.  The required data conversion from the old, outdated system to the new platform, at a cost of $42,000 was also covered under the agreement with the county.  The new hardware alone was an expense of $52,000.  Hyde Park is responsible for the yearly maintenance cost of $28,500.

With the new system, the Hyde Park police can better communicate with neighboring agencies including the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office and the Town and City of Poughkeepsie police departments.  An added benefit is being able to see real-time data from the 911 center in the patrol vehicle computer, including live updates during emergencies.

The time-consuming work of making the transfer was started in December of 2019 and was making progress until the pandemic arrived in March.  From that point forward, much of the work was done remotely between Dutchess County’s Office of Central and Information Services (OCIS) and two Hyde Park police employees.

“This system allows us to keep track of everything we need to do,” said Benson.  The system catalogs and tracks evidence, sends alerts for training certifications due to expire and even keeps track of when an officer’s body armor is determined to be outdated.

“We’re grateful for the county’s assistance and their help in moving our police department into the 21st century.  This agreement is one more way in which we support our police officers,” said Town Supervisor Aileen Rohr. Colonel Glenn Marchi, PhD., the OCIS Commissioner called the project “A great partnership between the county and the town, and it provides an added layer of protection for the officers.”

Officer Alec Brandow showing the capabilities of the new computers.

Hyde Park Police Sergeant Brad Moore was the department’s contact point for the project and spent months getting the system ready.  When the system was enabled on September 1, Moore said it was truly a “trial by fire” day involving robberies, a foot pursuit, and other criminal activity.  “The system has worked great since we implemented it,” added Benson.

Officer Alec Brandow praised the system.  “It works great and allows us to respond to emergencies faster and gives us the information we need.”

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