Summit County and Park City dispatch merger deemed successful
September 24, 2018
The Summit County Sheriff's Office and Park City Police Department dispatch centers merged a little more than a year ago as a way to save the agencies money and reduce the number of transferred 911 calls to decrease response times.
When dialing 911 in Summit County, callers now reach the Public Safety Dispatch Center instead of Park City or Summit County dispatch. All phone numbers for Summit County and Park City's non-emergency lines have remained the same, while dispatchers with the Sheriff's Office field all emergency calls for the public safety agencies in Summit County, including Park City Police, fire agencies, emergency medical services and public works.
While callers may not have noticed the switch, law enforcement officials have. Lt. Nick Wilkinson, with the Summit County Sheriff's Office, said communication between both agencies has increased and the number of transferred calls has been significantly reduced.
"We made it more efficient," he said. "We have reduced 911 transfers by almost 50 percent. You can't say it saved a life because there is no way to quantify that. But, we are improving everyone's chances of surviving with a medical incident when their lives are in danger."
The dispatch center has received 14,873 calls so far this year, with about 6,000 more calls anticipated by Dec. 31, Wilkinson said. The average call time has decreased by nearly 17 seconds since last year, with the number of transfers dropping from 1,532 last year to 705 in 2018 as of Sept. 10.The dispatch center in the Sheriff's Office underwent a roughly $217,000 remodel as part of the consolidation funded by Park City Municipal. The new merger contract stipulates that Park City Municpal pays Summit County $600,000 a year, about $400,000 less than the cost of Park City operating its own dispatch center. The dispatch center in the Park City Police Department serves as a backup center with the infrastructure still in place so it can be used during emergency operations or special events. It is also being converted into a traffic center.
Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said the merger has accomplished exactly what was intended. He added, "We are absolutely satisfied with it."
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"Our goal was obviously to make dropped calls few and far between and make sure we were reducing that risk," he said. "
He said his officers have had to adjust to all emergency calls being on one channel. But, he said it allows the police department and Sheriff's Office to provide resources for the other when necessary.
"We can move those as needed to make sure that we are not only covering the city, but the county has what they need," he said. "We've been very pleased. I think any time you have a big cross savings for the community is huge, especially when you can improve operability for the community and the service side of it has improved as well."