A consolidation several years in the making was officially launched today. Now, the Department of Public Safety is absorbing the East County Dispatching Agency in hopes of saving taxpayers’ money and promoting efficiency.
Before first responders arrive on scene, it’s dispatchers who are faced with making important decisions. Starting Tuesday, the Erie County Department of Public Safety is now dispatching for East County.
The 911 Coordinator, Kale Asp, says the consolidation means streamlining the process. “Well, one important thing is situational awareness. Essentially, everyone knows exactly what’s going on and the resources that are available and we can continue and proceed on from there.”
Experts tell us the change will primarily impact the people seeking emergency services.
John Durlin, Assistant 911 Coordinator, tells us, “The callers would have to call Erie County 911 and verify their address. They would be transferred to East County and have to verify their address again. So now, they’ll only have to verify their address once and responders should get out the door faster.”
After several months of preparation, crews say they’re up for the challenge.
Asp says, “Cross training and training, in general, are a high priority here at Erie County and we’ve increased staffing from our professional telecommunications staff to accommodate the additional call volume and additional workload.”
Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper strongly supports moving all dispatching under the same roof, saying in a written statement, “We are increasing the efficiency of getting first responders to the citizens who need them most – saving seconds, saving minutes and saving lives.”
With the exception of Millcreek Police, all 911 dispatching services are now unified countywide.
The East County Agency is now transitioning into a new role as an emergency medical service.