Special to Iredell Free News

RALEIGH — The N.C. State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) can now immediately track your call with GPS and pinpoint the nearest trooper, after an upgrade to the agency’s statewide computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system.

The $11.1 million project began during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is nearly complete, thanks to funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and state legislation signed by Gov. Roy Cooper. The grant is administered by the N.C. Department of Public Safety with oversight from the North Carolina Pandemic Recovery Office.

“It’s going to improve public safety and trooper safety, and make sure we’re providing the best services possible,” says Captain Kevin Owens, unit commander for the NCSHP Technical Services Unit.

The NCSHP’s previous CAD system had components dating back to the 1970s and was in the process of being discontinued. When North Carolina received $5.4 billion in State Fiscal Recovery Funds from ARPA in 2021, the General Assembly appropriated the funds to over 200 projects, including new technology to better equip troopers and NCSHP telecommunicators for everyday service, as well as any future crises.

In addition to tracking a 911 caller’s location, the new CAD system also tracks NCSHP patrol units. Telecommunicators can identify the nearest available trooper on a map, then using the same software, share details about the call for the trooper to view in real-time on their laptop in the field. If another trooper needs to provide backup, they immediately have access to the same information and their colleague’s location. Previously, most of this process was handled by phone or radio, costing valuable time and resources.

The CAD system project is expected to be completed by early 2025.