Consolidating dispatch centers
Consolidation models Consolidation, traditionally defined, typically translates to smaller jurisdictions contracting their emergency dispatch needs out to a larger county or regional comm. But many other types of consolidation exist and are popular with agencies, such as co-location and centralization, said Shawn Messinger, a police consultant with Priority Dispatch Corp. Co-location involves separate agencies or agency divisions sharing a comm.
center facility that within the structure’s interior are separate areas divided by a wall or by pod, with each having its own staff, CAD, protocols, etc.
The emergency communications needs of each agency and the jurisdictions it serves can differ greatly based on a variety of factors.
Though most jurisdictions seek to give residents the highest level of 9-1-1 dispatch center services that are reasonably affordable, some view consolidation as ceding too much power to the contracting agency and have concerns about the quality of service to residents that a merger would bring about.
“The consolidation process poses numerous challenges, however, from operation, governance, funding, and technical perspectives,” CSRIC also states in its final report, Key Findings and Effective Practices for Public Safety Consolidation.
The following sections will look at both the advantages and disadvantages of consolidation and identify ways with which agencies and jurisdictions can analyze how consolidation might specifically benefit them rather than asking public safety officials and decision makers to simply take a leap of faith.
“The biggest driver of consolidations is more people making 9-1-1 calls by cellphone than by landline,” Dornseif said.
In the face of tough economic times, jurisdictions have increasingly sought after ways to pool resources and eliminate redundancies.
That has led agencies and government entities to consolidate comm.
“The sharing of resources allows for the elimination of duplicate costs, supports coordinated responses, provides greater interoperability, and ultimately leads to more effective and efficient service.
Driving forces from political, economic, and service quality factors are increasingly demanding public safety officials consider consolidation with neighboring communities of interest.” In the trenches David Donovan, interim director of Scott Emergency Communication Center (SECC) in Davenport, Iowa, was a key figure in the center’s consolidation process from 2007–2011.