Public Safety Communications Project Profiles

Peoria Police Department

Peoria, Arizona

The Peoria Police Department 911 dispatch team is operating at consoles that are “extremely outdated, not ergonomic, and not functional for 24/7 operations.” Peoria, AZ is seeking updated consoles, and a new floor plan that promotes communication and collaboration among its team members. In addition, Peoria intends to supply the dispatchers with a suite of ergonomic adjustment features and work tools to increase health and focus.

The Challenge

The current floor plan limits communication between teammates. The console provider will have to be creative when laying out the floor plan. The existing space is limited. The Peoria team is looking for something completely different that better supports communication among the team. They want clear sight lines and better traffic flow.

The Solution

Russ Bassett delivers a floor plan and consoles that meet Peoria’s needs. In addition to a layout that makes collaboration easier, each dispatcher is now able to get comfortable and stay focused using multiple points of adjustment.

Overview

12 Positions

4 Flex
Consoles

  • Sit-Stand Adjustment
  • Slatwall Monitor Array
  • Personal Comfort System
  • Personal Storage

Installed In
2020

Creating a Better 911 Dispatch Work Environment

When Brittany Brunet joins the Peoria Police Department as their new 911 Communications Manager, one of the first things she realizes is the dispatch team is operating at consoles that are “extremely outdated, not ergonomic, and not functional for 24/7 operations.” Brunet immediately begins advocating for the equipment her team needs to serve their community to the best of their abilities. Funding is secure and the search for new console furniture is soon underway.

 Alongside trusted first-line dispatchers and in consultation with the agency’s IT team, Brunet develops a

list of priority features to evaluate when assessing multiple console furniture vendors.

  • An open floor plan and space plan that promotes collaboration
  • An alternative to the split surface console design
  • Consoles designed to support dispatcher health
  • Dispatcher controlled lighting, heating and cooling
  • A well-designed cable management system
  • Built to stand up to 24/7 shift work

 When securing an agency asset that will be in use for a decade or more, Brunet shares it is important to get the most bang for the buck and that means selecting console furniture that will “really and truly last.” The Peoria selection committee set out to find the right console furniture and a manufacturer to support their service needs throughout their lifetime of ownership.

 Brunet, one of Peoria’s Dispatch Supervisors and other members from IT, radio and more visited several installations in neighboring PSAPs. In addition, another console furniture vendor present solutions to the front-line personnel and Peoria PD leadership.

 Russ Bassett consoles come out on top in every way.

Floorplan Promotes Collaboration Among Peoria PD Dispatchers

It is critical that the Peoria dispatchers can easily interact and work to support each other during their shift. The previous space plan isolated the dispatchers and limited sight lines. To be sure the new furniture supports collaboration, Brunet asks vendors to “provide multiple options; to be creative.”

 The Russ Bassett Designers provide numerous options to support Brunet’s goals. The final design is completely different than their previous layout. It makes smarter use of the space – sight lines are open, there is better traffic flow, and the dispatchers can communicate more freely.

Ergonomics and Comfort Features Support Dispatcher Health and Focus

Single, Height Adjustable Surface

The existing split surfaces make work harder for the dispatchers. There is never quite enough room for the daily tools of the job. Often, dispatchers are aligning the front and back surface to create a more functional area.

 Peoria selects a single surface console replacement. The single surface gives the dispatchers more room to work and train side-by-side. The surface moves independently of the monitors so they still have the ergonomic adjustments they value. Now, moving from sitting to standing is easier which encourages dispatchers to utilize the height adjustment feature.

 Despite the perceived challenge of moving from a split surface to a single surface console, Brunet reports the change is “positive.” Dispatchers see the advantages of having an expansive space for work tools, equipment, and the impact on their posture and comfort. The team is also realizing the positive benefits of the new monitor array. Now, each dispatcher fine tunes the peripheral viewing angle of each monitor then adjusts the height and focal depth of the monitors all at once. There is no more tweaking and re-tweaking the monitors when transition from sitting to standing.

Personal Comfort

For Peoria, heating and cooling, task and ambient lighting and personal storage prove to boost focus and mood. Shares Brunet,

 When you’re designing a center a lot of things don’t get considered and are a tremendous benefit to the work environment.

 The dispatchers appreciate the heating and cooling appliances. Each dispatcher can now achieve a temperature that will help them focus on the work at hand. Two desktop fans deliver cool air when the dispatchers need it and two heaters below the surface can be directionally adjusted to warm the torso, toes or both “And the occupancy sensors are a huge plus,” shares Brunet. Knowing that the appliances will automatically shut-off if no movement is detected is a safety and energy-use assurance that the agency values.

 Lighting upgrades include individual task lighting at each position and blue ambient light behind the monitors. Dispatchers use both types of lighting to regulate focus and mitigate eye strain. “The blue back- light is especially beneficial to teams working the late shift since they like to keep the room lights low,” says Brunet.

 The third major improvement is the addition of personal storage at each dispatch station. Now, dispatchers have room for bags and backpacks, or other personal belongings they want to keep close. “These get used a ton,” shares Brunet.

Improved IT Interface

When evaluating console options, the IT team pays particular attention to the technology integration design of each console. They open doors, remove panels, and examine the way cables transition from one area of the console to another. Russ Bassett consoles are superior across the board. According to feedback received by Burnet, the IT team reports that Russ Bassett “wire management is well thought out and organized.” There is easy access to equipment and cabling from the front and the back of the console. Multiple points of access help reduce disruption to the dispatcher during regular IT maintenance checks.

More Comfort, Increased Safety, Better Focus

Blue Earth was seeking a more efficient, quieter, user-controlled heating and cooling solution. Dispatchers appreciated having cool air, but the old console fans were too noisy to use regularly. The dispatchers also needed localized heating in the cold winter months. However, the old consoles had ineffective radiant heating panels.

The Russ Bassett integrated Comfort Control System gives Blue Earth operators localized forced air heating and cooling from energy-efficient, ultra-quiet appliances. The desktop fans and under-surface heaters power on with a single touch. Both cooling fans can be placed anywhere on the desktop and directional air flow adjustment allows dispatchers to focus cool air where they need it. Both under-surface heaters tilt up or down to focus warm air where it is most beneficial. Both the fans and heaters move with the dispatcher when they change position from sitting to standing. As an additional safety measure, the system has an occupancy sensor that turns off the appliances when no movement is detected at the console; the appliances re-engage when the operator returns.

Console Furniture “Takes the Beating”

Visits to PSAPs reveal how consoles wear under the duress of an active 24/7 environment. Close inspection of console demos allows the Peoria team to see materials and construction up close. When evaluating the latest consoles offered by their previous furniture provider, “it is clear that the consoles are not built any better,” shares Brunet. As Peoria evaluates other options, they see similar furniture attributes.

 Russ Bassett stands out as different. The deliberate use of steel and wood, quality hardware and console components, and superior construction techniques are visible. Feedback from other agencies confirm their observations. Nothing beats Russ Bassett when it comes to durability. “It takes the beating of a dispatch center,” says Brunet.

 Brunet recommends Russ Bassett with enthusiasm. The dispatchers like the way the room is laid out and the changes in console shape and features is positive.

The project was managed well, delivering “to the ‘T’ on promised dates” and “communication was there each step of the way without fail,” shares Brunet. “From preliminary conversation, they delivered.

I shared specific project goals and needs, they delivered.” All Russ Bassett teams were collaborative, and the on-site teams “top-notch,” quiet, respectful and

they cleaned up after themselves.

 You know you are getting your money’s worth with a positive experience and highly functional consoles that have longevity. I couldn’t praise the company, process, and product more. – Brittany Brunet

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Console workstation design is an important but often overlooked factor in telecommunicators’ well-being and ability to do their jobs efficiently. Through thoughtful console design, we can significantly improve telecommunicators’ comfort and ergonomics, leading to better health and faster response times.

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