VPI Helps San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department Record and Access Over One Million Calls Per Year

Customer: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

Industry: Public Safety (Gov. Agency)

State: CA


Fed-up with their obsolete voice logger and cumbersome retreival of archived recordings, SBCSD chose VPI recording system for full-time recording and reliable online storage.

Business Profile

As one of the more technologically advanced public safety agencies in the country, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBCSD) is dedicated to implementing state-of-the-art technology to enable optimum performance. Serving roughly 22,000 square miles ranging from the Arizona border to the east, to Riverside and Los Angeles counties to the west, SBCSD manages more than one million calls per year – and that figure doesn’t include the huge volume of radio traffic handled. The San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department is recognized nationally for being on the cutting edge of training.


Although quite adequate in terms of ability to record the department’s substantial call load, SBCSD’s voice logger had reached the end of its life cycle. Storage and retrieval of call recordings were becoming costly and time-consuming propositions. The logger recorded to DVDs, which could only hold up to eight days of recordings before being removed and archived to the library. Not only was this method somewhat tedious and inefficient, but it also required dispatch supervisors to stop working in order to change over the DVDs, not to mention the amount of time wasted in the archive library whenever recordings of specific incidents needed to be retrieved. “The District Attorney’s office would request call recordings two weeks to 30 days after a case was filed,” recalled Joann Rutland, Communications Supervisor for SBCSD. “We constantly had to go back to the library, pull the appropriate DVD, upload it… it was cumbersome.

Obviously, the new system had to provide a far more advanced storage solution. “We knew we needed online storage,” explained Rutland. “We wanted to find a solution that didn’t require us to use DAT drives or DVDs, we wanted to be able to record everything to hard drives with built-in redundancy… we wanted to be able to network the logger so that the recordings could be diverted back to our Storage Area Network (SAN) device at headquarters.”

The new system also had to integrate seamlessly within SBCSD’s existing environment. In addition to a CompuDyne CAD system, Motorola trunked radio, Plant Vesta ACD, and Nortel Meridian PBX, the department had chosen to implement Dell servers – in addition to developing high quality products, Dell has a solid reputation for providing excellent customer service.


SBCSD conducted a thorough evaluation of several well-known PSAP voice logging systems, and also engaged in product demonstrations. After extensive research, VPI’s recording system was selected for guaranteed, non-stop recording along with total reliability for storage and retrieval of records. There are also plans underway to implement PRIORITI Evaluator -- VPI’s innovative PSAP call taker quality assessment software solution.

“Due to the size of the area we serve and continued population growth, the County has two separate 911 centers for call taking and dispatching,” explained Rutland. “This strategy provides a level of redundancy that we feel is important in the event of a natural disaster or large incident. VPI recording system's solutions record audio at each facility with the most critical audio channels recorded redundantly, and provide local audio playback for over one year, all audio from the two 911 centers is sent via the Wide Area Network (WAN) to SBCSD’s SAN located at our highly secure network operations center in San Bernardino.”

VPI partnered with Dell Public Safety Systems to build the SBCSD’s VPI recording system on county-approved Dell servers, which was required for seamless integration into the secure network operations center (NOC). Voice Print’s mission critical redundant recording and centralized storage capabilities, along with their ability to leverage Dell Servers, met the interoperability needs of SBCSD.

One of the major turning points in the decision-making process came when Rutland called both the Orange County Fire and Los Angeles County Sheriffs’ Departments to ask about their experiences with VPI systems. As two of the largest public safety agencies in the country, and having very similar environments to that of SBCSD, their good references and positive feedback made the decision to implement VPI solutions very easy to make.



Significant Benefits

The VPI recording system makes it easy for SBCSD to reconstruct entire events – every radio dispatch, telephone call, and all associated telephony data -- all in sequential order. This is vital for the District Attorney’s office to successfully prosecute when the defense attorney is trying to defend his client based on information received and provided by SBCSD. “Time really matters,” explained Rutland. “How we received our information, how it went out, if the information received over the phone is the same information that went out over the radio.”

Prior to implementing the VPI recording system, SBCSD could not search by ANI/ALI. Now, they can. Cyndee Freeman, Administrative Supervisor at SBCSD described how the new system helped the department make headway in a major case. “In addition to capturing ANI/ALI, we can also record 911 trunks. This means that the moment a person finishes dialing and the connection is made, VPI recording system begins to record. Before, recording didn’t initiate until a call taker picked up. Those few seconds can make all the difference. In a recent situation where a serious crime was being reported, we could hear the caller’s entire demeanor change from total indifference to feigned panic and distress once they started speaking with the dispatcher. The recording was a valuable piece of evidence.”

Since implementing the VPI recording system, SBCSD has realized a significant improvement in productivity and turnaround time. Dispatch supervisors and staff can now concentrate all efforts on maintaining a safe community, rather than spending time administering to their logging system. With the time saved, the SBCSD has seen a significant improvement in department efficiency - records are reliably stored, easily retrieved, and quickly shared with other parties.

The department’s need for interoperability with its existing IT environment was met due to VPI’s total commitment to open architecture. Voice Print system’s are software-driven, comprised of non-proprietary, commercially off-the-shelf hardware components (COTS) from industry leaders. This design assures optional independence from VPI for system maintenance, technical support, or backup purposes of system hardware - replacement components are readily available in the open market.

When asked about the custom integrations and service that VPI had provided for SBCSD, Joann Rutland was more than satisfied. “VPI has always been great… They’re willing to work with the solutions you want – in terms of how you network, how you store things. They’ll engineer just about anything that you need or want.”