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Case Study: The City of Clifton Police Department

The City of Clifton Police Department


The City of Clifton Police Department (PD), part of the “Urban 15” in New Jersey, has 150 officers in administrative services, field operations, and investigations. Clifton PD is dedicated to protecting life and property, and maintaining order with equal treatment given to all. They work in partnership with other agencies and the citizens to solve problems in the community.




Spok® pc/psap emergency dispatch solution

Business Drivers

  • Previous product was outdated and no longer supported by vendor
  • Looked for back-up options and system redundancy
  • Wanted a solution with a plan for NG9-1-1


  • Better prepared to provide 9-1-1 services during disasters (high availability)
  • Smooth installation and continuous support
  • Interface with multiple public safety systems
  • Path to incorporate NG9-1-1
  • Integrates with existing PBX

The Challenge

The Clifton Police Department’s dispatch center is a busy place with up to six dispatchers taking and processing emergency calls. These calls require being able to quickly involve police, ambulances, and other services, so a fast, reliable infrastructure is vital.  Clifton PD’s public safety answering point (PSAP) technology was outdated and no longer supported by the vendor, and they wanted to put a new system in place to better manage communications for public safety. At the same time, the city of Clifton was upgrading their Avaya® phone system in all government offices and installing a new radio system.

"Looking to the future we want to be able to handle text, images, and video, and [Spok] is preparing for that. "

––Lieutenant David J. Niland, Technical Services Division Commander and SWAT Commander

The Solution

Clifton police officers looked at Spok’s emergency public safety answering point solution, Spok® pc/psap. An important consideration for Clifton’s department in assessing a new vendor was the future of 9-1-1. “We want to be ready for the Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) initiative,” said Lieutenant David J. Niland, Technical Services Division Commander and SWAT Commander for the City of Clifton Police Department. NG9-1-1 is a national project to design and deliver emergency call support for mobile communication capabilities.” Looking to the future we want to be able to handle text, images, and video, and [Spok] is preparing for that.”

Another essential feature the department needed in a public safety call center solution was reliability. Spok® pc/psap has received Department of Defense accreditation and is certified by the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC), attesting to the security and dependability of the solution. After experiencing very high call volume during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Clifton PD team also recognized that server redundancy was critical to providing continuous emergency dispatch, and they worked with Spok to install back-up servers.

The Results

Rollout of the new Spok system went quickly and smoothly. Clifton PD’s new software interfaces with the center’s other vital systems, such as mapping and network time clocks. It is now fully supported with a redundant server, and the PD is primed for NG9-1-1 capabilities. Spok pc/psap integrates with existing PBX or CENTREX telephone systems and works seamlessly on the city’s new Avaya system.

The PD also appreciates Spok’s exceptional support. “I was previously assigned to Field Operations,” said Lt. Niland, “and I have experience on the front end of the product—how dispatches go out to people in the field. That experience helps with my understanding, but I still have technical questions. I have never had trouble tracking down someone to answer them. The [Spok] staff is reliable and always available to help, even at night on Christmas Eve.”