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Sandy Police and Fire making changes to emergency dispatch provider

Thursday, January 24, 20131190 views

Starting in July, in Sandy 911 calls will be dispatched from a new location, but most residents won’t notice the change. Sandy Police and Fire are moving away from the ValleyEmergencyCommunicationsCenterand switching to dispatch services provided by the Salt Lake Police Department.

Sandy Police Chief Stephen Chapman said the police and fire departments wanted to know what they could be doing better to provide the best service to Sandyresidents. In addition to saving Sandy City money, another incentive is the new Versaterm System software, which will provide better intelligence information to officers during a call.

“We wanted to see if there was something out there that would be better than the system we are using with VECC,” Chapman said. “I spoke with Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank about the possibility of switching over to Salt Lake City. I think this will be a good fit for the city and residents.”

With the new SLPD Public Safety building nearing completion, all dispatch calls will be relayed through Salt Lake Police’s emergency operations center starting in July. Chapman said one of the biggest reasons for the change was the new technology available at the new building, including the Versaterm software.

Chapman said in addition to finding the best service to help with dispatching emergency calls and record keeping, the change to Salt Lake City will save the city a substantial amount of money. Chapman estimates it could save the city several hundreds of thousands of dollars, although an exact figure won’t be known until July,

“We made the decision to see what else was out there besides VECC for our dispatch needs,” Chapman said. “We found that the new public safety building will have better technology than VECC currently has, which was a big part of our decision.”

In November 2009, Salt Lake Cityvoters approved a $125 million bond for the new building at 315 East 200 South. Construction is scheduled to be completed by July. Chapman said the city has been in discussions with the Salt Lake Police Department for several months to facilitate the switch for dispatch services.

Chapman doesn’t anticipate a delay in response times, and said that most residents won’t notice a difference. Switching to Salt Lake City will actually give Sandy police officers more detailed information about the calls and  information will come to the computers in their cars faster than before through the Versaterm System software.

“We don’t foresee any issues with the change,” Chapman said. “There might be some bumps right after the change, but we expect those will be dealt with quickly and fixed so there aren’t any long-term problems.”

Sandy resident Kelly Huett came to the Sandy City Council meeting on Jan. 8 to express her concern about the switch and what it would mean for her elderly parents should they need emergency help. Both Chapman and Sandy Fire Chief Don Rosenkrantz assured Huett she wouldn’t see a change in response time or the quality of service provided by Sandy’s emergency responders.

“The only thing that will change is who is dispatching the call,” Rosenkrantz said during the city council meeting. “Response times could even be better since Salt Lake Citydispatches fire and medical crews at the beginning of the call, not after the call finishes.”

Chapman said the deal with Salt Lake Cityis being finalized and the paperwork is being completed now. The change will take place in early July as long as construction of the new building stays on schedule.

“We want to make sure people know that this change will not have an impact on their emergency response needs,” he said. “Our police and fire will still be as capable as before.”

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