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Posted on Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 12:56 p.m.

Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County 911 now co-located in downtown dispatch center

By Ryan J. Stanton

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 Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Ryan J. Stanton

Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

In every city I have ever worked as a reporter, emergency operations officials have gone to great lengths to avoid publicizing the location of a 911 call center, which you could imagine is sensitive information. It's no different in Ann Arbor. That's why there are no signs for it.


Fri, Jun 4, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

Amalie, The City of Ann Arbor wants to hide everything. There is a difference between city officials announcing the location of the dispatch center and the location being confidential. Major difference. You can look in the minutes or elsewhere and you will see where this center is located. It never was hidden, but city officials have no comment on the matter and chose not to say where it is. Why? Because they are city officials. The city of Ann Arbor is good at hiding info, and for that matter so are other cities. It's bad reporting in my opinion when a reporter comes off and says that it is confidential when it's not. You guys should know better than that. However, you guys are right there with Ann Arbor. The fact is the people paid and are still paying for THEIR 9-1-1 dispatch center. It's location should never be hid from the ones paying for it. Simple as that. So the answer is people can request that the center be kept quite, but all in all a 9-1-1 dispatch center is never to be hidden from the public. Never.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

I inquired of the city's communications director and received this response: "I can tell you that the center is located in a city-owned building downtown, but I'm sure you can understand our preference to safeguard the location of the emergency personnel and equipment."


Thu, Jun 3, 2010 : 1:27 a.m.

"The locations of 911 emergency dispatch operations are confidential" Uh,no. This is absolutely false! The 911 center is paid for by the taxpayers.Since when did a 911 dispatch center become "highly sensitive classified"? I think maybe you should do a little more research before making a statement like this. I'm sure if you asked more than just one source then you would have gotten an answer. And to the person who said "Do you have any reason to be at the center to begin with?"...Yes! The taxpayers do have the right do see where their money is going and what it's being spent on. Several cities in mid-Michigan are more than happy to provide citizens with a guided tour of the local 911 dispatch center.If Ann Arbor and Washtenaw county denied the public any kind of access to the center that would be a really bad political move on their part.

Jerry Butler

Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 8:07 p.m.

reddog801, "The location of the 9-1-1 dispatch center is confidential? Who in the world told you that?" I think the people at the 911 center requested it be kept confidential, maybe? Do you have any reason to be at the center to begin with?


Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

Ryan, The location of the 9-1-1 dispatch center is confidential? Who in the world told you that? Tax payers pay for their 9-1-1 dispatch centers and are able to tour those centers anytime. The new dispatch center is where the Ann Arbor Emergency Operations Center is which is above the Ann Arbor City Fire Department across from the Ann Arbor police station. The only thing that happened here was a room consolidation. Ann arbor Police still dispatches for AAPD and Washtenaw County Sheriff still dispatches for themselves, MSP, Northfield, Ypsilanti City and Metro Parks. Ryan, it's not fair that you are saying that this information is confidential. You really should do better reporting. As far as response times from calling 9-1-1 there will be do time delays. Only the physical location was moved but the E9-1-1 system stays the same.

Ryan J. Stanton

Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

@Robert M. The locations of 911 emergency dispatch operations are confidential.


Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 2:12 p.m.

Where is it exactly?


Wed, Jun 2, 2010 : 1:09 p.m.

Will it now be just as quick a response time calling 911 from a cell phone as a landline?