CAD to CAD Interoperability

In 2008, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue contracted with Oregon Consensus to convene a collaborative discussion with emergency service providers in the Portland and Vancouver metropolitan area. The discussion focused on regional emergency services computer-assisted dispatch (CAD). At a two-day summit, 300 participants representing fifteen agencies explored dispatch capabilities, and identified trends that underscore the need for increased CAD interoperability, including:

  • Pressure on call center operators to manage more and more information
  • National push towards regional emergency response
  • Use of CAD information to reduce fuel consumption
  • Increasing administrative reporting requirements
  • Increasing public use of wireless phone service
  • Growing public expectation of seamless service delivery

Issues and Challenges

The group identified challenges to interoperability, including:

  • Difficulty interfacing between agencies with different equipment or different training standards and policies
  • Inability to manipulate information to dispatch a response
  • Inconsistent wireless coverage
  • Lack of involvement and coordination with State Police
  • Political concerns about data sharing


The group agreed on preliminary goals to:

  • Share data regionally between PSAPs (public safety answering points) when applicable
  • Create a real time data warehouse where regional data is dumped for easy access by multiple agencies
  • Continuously update site data (e.g.create the capacity for fire inspectors to input new occupancy data)
  • Create systems that allow fire and fleet vehicles to update their vehicle computers with current information.

Key Oregon Consensus Contributions

Oregon Consensus conducted individual participant interviews to assess the issues and determine appropriate agency participants; developed an agenda based on participant input; and facilitated the two-day summit.


Aurora Fire; Beaverton Police; Portland Bureau of Emergency Services; Clackamas County Department of Communications; Columbia County 911; Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office; Clark County Emergency Management; Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency; Lake Oswego 911; North Marion County Communications; Marion County; Portland Fire Bureau; Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue; WA County Consolidated Communications

Project Lead

Elaine Hallmark
Senior Associate
Oregon Consensus
Portland State University
(503) 725-9070


Jamie Damon, JLA Associates
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