The Next Step Toward A Regional Dispatch Center - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

The Next Step Toward A Regional Dispatch Center

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All 3 Tri-Cities Sign Agreement for Joint Emergency Dispatch Center All 3 Tri-Cities Sign Agreement for Joint Emergency Dispatch Center

UPDATE:

TRI-CITIES, WA- This week, the city councils of Pasco, Kennewick and Richland all agreed to move forward with plans for a joint emergency dispatch center.

The next step is for Benton and Franklin county commissioners to consider approving the plan. Then, all the players involved will need to get down to talking about funding the project.  

Franklin County Commissioner Rick Miller said their discussion on funding will happen in the near future.  

Our calls to Benton County Commissioners, on Wednesday, were not returned.

Pasco Fire Chief Bob Gear, who serves on the state 911 advisory committee, said both counties are due for an upgrade regardless,  and believes the state would be willing to share "initial capital costs".

"If we could get one set of hardware, public safety answering point hardware, in Benton and Franklin county, then the state's willing to help support that financially. Instead of buying two systems, one for each, to upgrade to next generation 911, they only have to buy one system," explained Chief Gear.

Depending on how fast those discussions on finances go, Chief Gear said we could see a joint system as early as six months from now, cutting out the 10 to 20 calls a day that have to be passed between counties.

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TRI-CITIES, WA - The city councils in Pasco, Kennewick and Richland have approved an agreement to move forward with plans for a combined emergency dispatch center that would include Benton and Franklin Counties.  The two counties are still reviewing the agreement.   The cities put out a news release Wednesday with statements from the mayors, see the entire release below:

Cities sign inter local agreement that will lead to a joint emergency dispatch center

The city councils of Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland have each voted in favor of the Inter Local Agreement for the Multi-Agency Three Rivers Information and Communication Services, commonly referred to as MATRICS. This is the first step to consolidating the 911 emergency dispatch centers from Benton and Franklin Counties into one public safety answering point (PSAP). City of Kennewick Mayor Steve Young stated, “We are very excited for this agreement to be in place so that we can begin building the framework to implement MATRICS. This partnership and our collaborative efforts will continue to focus on how we can best provide for the safety of our communities and our multi-agency first responders.”

Currently, both Franklin and Benton Counties have their own 911 centers. With the tremendous amount of cell phone usage in the area, it is not uncommon for 911 calls to be sent to the wrong 911 center and thus creates a delay that can be critical. Consolidation of the 911 call center would ensure that all 911 calls would go to a single location and then dispatched to the correct jurisdiction. This efficiency not only eliminates the misdirected 911 calls, but also creates greater efficiency in the system. As City of Pasco Mayor Matt Watkins stated, “The City of Pasco is pleased that the MATRICS plan is moving ahead…unifying the Tri-Cities' 911 dispatch will help improve public safety as well as for our first responders. MATRICS is yet another example of collaboration between the cities and counties of the Tri-Cities area that improve quality of life in a cost-effective way.”

There are two different radio systems being used for law enforcement. In Benton County, the police agencies operate on an 800MHz digital system, while Franklin County operates on a VHF system. The two systems are not compatible and create dangerous communication problems when law enforcement work together. A single consolidation system would provide the opportunity for all law enforcement agencies to communicate on the same radio platform thus improving officer safety and emergency response coordination.

The move to a single system allows single purchases of equipment, maintenance contracts, and software upgrades that otherwise would be purchased by both counties individually. Shared costs for hardware, software, upgrades, and staff will likely bring a cost savings to the region. “MATRICS is a perfect example of creating efficiencies for emergency response through partnerships that also has the potential of saving each jurisdiction money in the long run,” stated City of Richland Mayor David Rose.

Benton and Franklin Counties are currently reviewing the document.

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