Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County 911 now co-located in downtown dispatch center
Local officials announced today that Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County 911 staff are now officially co-located in one central downtown dispatch center.
Consolidating the two operations under one roof brings to fruition a cost-savings strategy that also provides numerous other benefits to the community, city officials said.
"If you see the before and after it is quite remarkable," Spring Tremaine, police administrative services lieutenant, said of the renovated space.
In part, the so-called co-location project was prompted by a new countywide digital radio system slated to go live later this month. The new radio system required dispatch center improvements, and rather than updating three centers — including Ypsilanti — the city and county joined efforts to share overhead costs and co-locate 911 dispatch staff.
“The co-location of dispatch services is yet another way the city and county are working together to create opportunities to share costs while providing seamless emergency service to our citizens,” said Sgt. Ed Dreslinksi, emergency management operations director. “Several years ago we also combined our SWAT and mobile field force resources, which were natural fits for our two municipalities to share.”
The co-location dispatch center also will result in more efficient emergency service delivery, city officials said.
Tremaine, who managed the project, said having both the county and city under one roof minimizes challenges with determining the appropriate response jurisdiction based on a caller’s description of his or her whereabouts. The co-location also is expected to eliminate the need to transfer calls as frequently, which reduces the number of lost calls and transfer hold times.
"Whenever we had calls that were on the border or we weren't quite sure where they were, we often times would transfer people back and forth between the different agencies," she said. "And we don't do that anymore. It's definitely going to be a streamline for the public, though they may not see it themselves."
City officials also said it allows for a greater knowledge base and top-notch technology to be used by all staff under one roof.
Tremaine said the city and county have attempted to form a central dispatch for many years, but the idea always died on the vine. With approval from both the city and the county last fall, the project moved forward and culminated last week.
Click here to read the Jan. 19 Ann Arbor City Council resolution amending the established budget for the co-located dispatch project.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529.