Benton Co. Commissioners Could Merge 911 Dispatch Center - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton Co. Commissioners Considering Merging 911 Dispatch Centers

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RICHLAND, Wash. -- Two years ago consultants studied what would happen if the Southeast Communications Center (SEACOMM) merged with the one in Franklin County, but the study never went anywhere.

However, that may all change. Tuesday and Wednesday, Benton County Commissioners held multiple meetings to look into the possibility closer. "We are truly open minded about merging. I think it would actually be good for the citizens. I think it would definitely be good for the departments. And we're hoping it would be good financially as well for the stability of both counties," said Benton County Commissioner Shon Small.

Small said they met with state officials asking them to fund an additional study to be done on the financial impacts of the merger. Small says because SEACOMM is a $20 million dollar facility with a $6 million dollar a year budget, they need to make sure it's the right thing to do.

Small said they met with Kennewick, Richland and Pasco Police departments to see if it's something they're interested and he said currently the communication at Pasco Police Department could use some improvements.

The plan is to conduct another in-depth study by independent consulting firm which would cost anywhere from $60,000-$70,000. Small said they will try to get funding for that study through the state.