Better Work Environment, Better Technology
MONTROSE – After two-and-a-half years and approximately $1 million worth of work, the region’s new, state-of-the-art 911 dispatch center, located at the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office, went into operation this week with a host of new technologies and more space for dispatchers.
The new 911-dispatch center, which serves a total of 31 agencies throughout the region including law enforcement and emergency response organizations in Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties, went live at 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning. According to the center’s Communications Manager Susan Byrne, who offered a tour on Monday, the new space is two-and-a-half times larger than the old dispatch center and will allow for better technology and room to grow.
“We are so excited and really proud of this project,” Byrne said. “This will be a nice and much larger space to work in. We were so cramped before. It will be a whole new environment.”
At any time, five to seven dispatchers are working the dispatch center. At its previous location, Byrne said, dispatchers worked in such close quarters that background noise could be an issue during busy call times. In the new center, there is plenty of space between dispatchers; a host of new monitors, desks and call equipment will not only make their jobs easier but more effective in getting responders where they need to go.
For instance, Byrne said, the new 911 dispatch center has all the latest mapping technology, enabling phone and mapping systems to work hand-in-hand. If, say, a bridge or a road is closed and there is an emergency near that closure, the new technology will re-route responders immediately and cut down on response time.
Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap said the new monitors show where emergency responders are located and display information bulletins about ongoing incidents.
“It’s very exciting,” Dunlap said. “This technology will keep everyone up-to-date in ways we didn’t have in the past.”
Wednesday morning’s switch to the new dispatch center was going to be tricky, Byrne said, and while it was taking place, calls were re-routed to the dispatch center in Delta while the new systems were set up and launched. Byrne said the new center was paid for by the users of the dispatch center as well as some grant funding.
Byrne added that the new dispatch center will not only have the ability to expand if more dispatchers are needed in the future, but will also grow along with new dispatch technology as it is invented – something that was hindered by the old location.
“It’s been a long process to get to this point and we are really excited,” she said.