The Federal Communication Commission Agency will require every public safety element to convert existing communication systems to what is referred to as “narrow-band” by midnight on December 31, 2012 or face fines as much as $21,000 per day thereafter.
In response to the new requirement, a newly proposed Regional Emergency Communication Center and Emergency Operations Center will provide emergency police, fire and ambulance dispatch to every city in Kaufman County with the exception of Forney.
The City of Forney recently built its new Criminal Justice Center with updated communication equipment.
“The need for public support is vitally important as this project proceeds,” said Kaufman County Sheriff David A. Byrnes. “This project will serve the citizens’ of Kaufman County for the next 25 years.”
In today’s economy, state, regional and local government agencies face a pressing need to provide exceptional citizen services in an effective and efficient manner, all the while working under constant resource constraints. To meet these challenges public agencies are constantly trying to improve internal efficiencies by lowering costs and increasing productivity. While city governments and counties are faced with the need to do more with less, public safety still remains a priority.
Also, the Federal Communication Commission Agency will require upgraded digital emergency communications technology by 2018. This is a huge unavoidable expense for local municipalities and counties to have to take on individually. Currently, emergency communications within the county are fragmented. Police radios cannot easily talk to firefighter radios, and most law enforcement personnel radios cannot talk to other law enforcement personnel radios in other jurisdictions. This makes coordination difficult and results in longer emergency response time for citizens where time is considered a precious commodity. With the significant drop in emergency response times. By its nature, the center would present a more coordinated, focused response when emergency responders from multiple counties and jurisdictions are required.
Looking to Our FutureThe mission of the proposed new communications center will be to provide professional public safety communications to each agency as they work together to preserve and improve the quality of life for citizens of Kaufman County. This would be accomplished through the prompt, efficient, and accurate collection and dissemination of information.
“We need a robust infrastructure that can handle multiple kinds of disasters,” said Steve Howie, Kaufman Counties Emergency Management Coordinator. “That is clearly not feasible with multiple independent dispatch centers. This is an excellent move when every nickel counts.”
It’s a necessary move to improve communications for emergency responders, such as law implementation of the regionalized emergency communication center, there would be a enforcement and fire personnel, officials say.
“We would get a state-of-the-art facility with state of the art equipment and emergency medical dispatch personnel that the smaller municipalities in our county would never be able to afford individually,” said Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood. “The quality of service the new center will provide cannot be realized without a combined effort between the County and local municipalities.”
The automotive industry realized many years ago it is not cost-effective to have an automobile manufacturing plant everywhere to sell cars. The industry built centralized, commonly-tooled and staffed manufacturing plants in a location that meets the needs of dealers all over the country. This is the approach of a regional communications center, according to local officials — construct, equip, staff and operate one facility that services the needs of public safety throughout the entire county, at the same level of quality, capability and effectiveness.
“Every community in Kaufman County is facing serious issues regarding the updating of their existing systems, and unless we take a proactive stance in solving the problem ahead of us, we will be short changing the citizens of Kaufman.” said Kaufman Mayor William Fortner. “The idea of a new regionalized communications center will not only be a prudent move for the citizens of Kaufman, but will be good for every city within Kaufman County. Rather than duplicate expense and systems in the various cities, it makes good business sense to consolidate this government service. This will significantly enhance public safety for all citizens in the county.”
Pooling resources saves money for the various communities who would otherwise have to duplicate the expensive facility, equipment and staffing requirements for emergency communications, but will build asset awareness and comprehensive response to public safety situations alone.
“Consolidation of expensive government services is now a new trend and it is certainly a smart trend in these lean times,” said Chief Jody Lay of the Terrell Police Department. “More importantly though, it produces more effective allocation of public safety resources.”
“Being more effective is what we must continue to focus on in this County,” Lay added. “I am very excited about the many possibilities that could come from this proposed project and look forward to doing my part to make it happen for our citizens.”