911 Dispatch Center Moving Along

When a 9-1-1 call is placed in Tallahassee or Leon County it will go to one of two places, the Leon County Sheriff's Office where deputies and EMS are dispatched, or to the Tallahassee Police Department where police and fire are dispatched.

Emergency personnel in the field say that sometimes creates a problem.

LT Billy Fair of the Leon County Sheriff's Office said, "Depending on where you're at, it's just as easy; a deputy could be there on the scene or right there close and the call goes to TPD or vice versa."

Travis Oaks with the Tallahassee Fire Department said, “We've had situations that we've had medical calls real close to the fire station with a quick response by the fire department, but we were not dispatched initially, so our response to the patient was slower."

A study released earlier this year showed what they already knew; valuable seconds could be saved if the two dispatches were merged. The reason is because calls would not have to be transferred.

The Public Safety Communications Board is making that happen. It was adopted by the City and County Commissions in May.

On Tuesday the Board asked a technology committee to draw up standards for a new radio communications system. It will not only update current radios, but will be shared under the merged system.

It's anticipated two companies, Motorola and Macom, will incorporate those standards when they pitch their proposals to the Board later this year.

There are other decisions on future agendas. The Board still has to select a Public Safety Communications Director who will head the new joint dispatch center and figure out where it will be housed.

The City and County are also looking to hire a consultant to help them address short-term and long-term goals as they get into the merging process.

A joint dispatch center with everyone under the same roof is not expected to happen for at least another two years.