As the administrative office of 9-1-1 for the City of New Orleans, the Orleans Parish Communications District (OPCD) serves as the gateway to city government whether it is a nonemergency or emergency situation. Their mission is simple: to get the right people to the right place at the right time better than anyone else in the world.
In the public safety arena, the threat changes daily, said Tyrell Morris, OPCD’s Executive Director. In the last six months, in addition to day-to-day public safety calls, his team has dealt with the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel that left three people dead, a cybersecurity attack that affected every agency except OPCD, and the outbreak of the coronavirus.
To deal with all these challenges, Morris said it is critical that they have flexible technology like Quick Base to manage all of these unique challenges.
“This pandemic has taught us that government has to be in the position to change very rapidly, be very flexible, be very secure, but also be very intentional about meeting people where they are and meeting their needs,” he said.
What originally started as a Quick Base application to manage vacation requests, has grown to now managing all of their data and systems in order to better handle the volume of data that legacy systems could no longer handle.
“Gone are the days of legacy systems that cannot be easily adapted, and I mean easily adapted within hours,” Morris said.
While Morris said the parish has started to see a decline in the number of daily new COVID-19 cases, OPCD has seen a 350% increase in 311 calls. To handle the crisis and serve the community, his team was able to quickly create solutions to help track the number of people self-quarantining, provide residents with necessary resources, and help inform decision making, among other things.
“Using our already existing infrastructure in Quick Base we quickly, in minutes, expanded that out to accept more of the COVID-19 related requests,” he said.
Morris said the flexibility and ease of use with Quick Bas allowed his team to have access to the critical data they needed to make informed decisions.
“It is one thing to have a system that has data you can’t use, or you need to have a doctorate degree in coding to extrapolate what that data means,” he said. “My undergraduate degree is in theater, and most of the applications in Quick Base I built myself.”