When it comes to emergency calls, every second counts. After receiving an emergency call, the control centres of the Zürich City Police and the rescue organisation “Schutz & Rettung Zürich” (Zürich Protection and Rescue) immediately provide the appropriate help and dispatch the emergency services to the scene. With around 1,300 emergency calls per day, the employees of the emergency services depend on perfectly functioning IT systems.
The Zürich City Police shared their database with Schutz & Rettung Zürich. This led to various deficits in the operation of the services essential for the professional handling of all emergency calls and deployments based on this database. These services include emergency calls and telephony, the command and control system, the location of resources, an image system (video surveillance) including large-screen display and a location system.
Thus, the operation of one control centre was in part dependent on the processes of the other control centre. Another challenge consisted of the infrastructure being spread over four different locations. Added to this was the poor performance in failovers: Services that the command and control system relies on were not available for up to 3 minutes per failover.
The services simply no longer met the increased requirements in terms of time- and place-based availability, and, in particular, location independence. That’s why those responsible at the Zürich City Police decided to optimise the various services provided by their control centres. In a first step, the database services of Schutz & Rettung and those of the Zürich City Police were separated. In addition, the infrastructure was reduced from four to just two locations – one main location and one emergency location.
Another improvement consisted of running services via Microsoft SQL Server 2016 and migrating all Zürich City Police servers to the Cloud. Now, not only do SQL services run as high-availability services, but also a three-node cluster eliminates downtime in the event of failovers. These changes were implemented using various db* tools for efficient and reliable database management.
In addition to the switch to the new SQL services, the hardware and operating system for all servers and clients involved were updated. A software update for the command and control system including communication with the resources was carried out and the voice system services were migrated to the new SQL high availability services. All of these changeovers took place without interrupting control centre operation and could be carried out as planned.
Together with Trivadis, we were able to provide highly reliable database services and expand SQL expertise on the part of the city police for the project and operation of the services.
Alessandro Foletti, Head of Control Centre, Zürich City Police
Trivadis supported the implementation of the measures at the start of the project, and after that the employees of the Zürich City Police were able to carry out the changeovers themselves. This was achieved by a constant transfer of expertise from Trivadis to police employees, who were able to expand their SQL knowledge as a result. The operation and maintenance of the new database services are now associated with less work than was the case with previous services. In the meantime, the Zürich City Police could be provided with further database services such as the location of resources or the video management system in a high-availability environment.
With around 2,100 employees, the Zürich City Police (in short: Stapo Zürich) is the third largest police corps in Switzerland after the Zürich Cantonal Police and the Bern Cantonal Police. As a municipal police corps, it is responsible for the municipal area of the city of Zürich and provides basic police services. In addition, it manages various special uniformed police and criminal investigation services. The city police reports to the City of Zürich’s security department.