From the time Brentwood put in the most up to date library management system available in 1993, they have constantly been adding the latest technological innovations to city systems to ensure they are giving their employees and citizens all of the information they need to live well. In our continuing coverage of Brentwood’s 50th anniversary this year, we look at how far Brentwood’s technology has come.
Integrated Tech System
An integrated state-of-the-art communication system was installed in 1996 between all city offices and members of the public requesting information about events, meetings, codes, and more. The system included voice, data, and email communication. The system has been continuously upgraded to stay current with the latest developments in technical knowledge.
Various departments, especially planning and codes, have used the system to provide other offices, developers, and citizens with the most current trends and tips
High speed fiber-optic cables replaced old cabling in the entire city system in 2005 with the building of a Traffic Operations Center.
John P. Holt Library Technology
The system placed into the library in 1996 only offered a fraction of what is currently available. What was initially an electronic version of a card catalog has come a long way. Today the library offers a full complement of products online. They have eBooks, eAuto Books, eMagazines, and eMusic that is all downloadable if you have a current library card. You can even apply for a library card online.
Onsite the library offers public computers and internet services, as well as downloading and printing services. There is even a self-checkout system for those with a busy schedule.
Police, Fire, and Emergency Communications
One of the systems that has probably had the biggest effect on the city and its citizens is the creation of a 911 Emergency Communications District in 2002, this opened up the city for new funding resources to handle everything from fires to accidents to tornado warnings. Previous to the passing of the referendum approving the creation of the 911 District, the city has installed a tornado early warning system and computers in fire trucks.
In 2007 the city updated public safety’s mobile data network, and in 2012 they added a next generation 911 Emergency Communications Center.
The current 911 technology has the ability to feed in live traffic cameras and live video feeds from onsite bystanders to better monitor the situation. It can also do language interpretation, give weather updates, note traffic patterns, do two-way texting, and provide layouts of buildings on record. An app is available to the community to feed into the system where they can provide key information to go on file in case of an emergency, such as medical conditions and disabilities.
Emergency alerts are possible through the NIXLE system that reports tornados, road closures, police activity, and hazardous materials leaks.
Brentwood joined the internet generation in 1997 when they put up their first website, since that time they have constantly modified what they offer on their site. Now they are able to stream commission and planning meetings, show traffic from various cameras placed on roadways and more.
Many departments use social media to communicate their message. The initial media plan included the website, as well as a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and NIXLE. Now the city has a very comprehensive web page with sub-pages for every department. They have updated their choice of Social Media communication networked to include eNews, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and more.
Social media is used to tell about the city’s history, current events, activities, tips, road construction, meetings, government news, most wanted, issues, and much more. Each department employs their social media outlets in different ways. And the city has created a business address, www.explorebrentwood.org, for small business owners to use to promote their businesses free of charge.
Traffic Cams and Operations
Traffic cameras are used to help synchronize the lights along one route based on how fast you are going, as well as helping to keep the city safe. Brentwood has been awarded several times for being a low-crime place to live.
The city also put in electric car charging stations at City Hall and the Library.
Technology Constantly Changing
Enhancements to current technologies are occurring more and more frequently. Brentwood’s Technology Department has stayed on top of the constant technological changes since its inception in 2007. And they plan for what types of capabilities the city will need for the next fifty years. Keeping citizens aware of what they need to know to have a safe and happy life is the most important goal for the use of technology in the city.