---- — SALEM — The Salem Police Department yesterday launched an automated telephone answering system.
Capt. James Chase, the operations commander, said the new system should mean more efficient service for residents and anyone else calling the non-emergency line.
Now, when anyone calls the business line, 893-1911, they will hear an automated message, providing extensions for divisions, units, services and individuals members of the department.
Callers also can dial 0 at any point to speak to a dispatcher.
Prior to the activation of the new system, Chase said, dispatchers were answering an average of 8,000 calls a month. The belief is the new system will free up dispatchers to focus on emergency calls, dispatching units and radio traffic, he said.
Police also will use the system to make announcements of major incidents and event cancellations or rescheduling.
The phone system was paid for entirely by funds from asset forfeiture, Chase said.