SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Members of the Schenectady County Legislature were joined by state and local leaders, as well as public safety officials to formally break ground on the new Schenectady County Unified Communications Center.
The Groundbreaking begins the construction of a new centralized dispatch facility which will consolidate a fragmented emergency communications system into one county-wide dispatch center. Construction of the center is partially supported through a Local Government Efficiency Grant funded through the New York Department of State.
"Schenectady County has been working very closely with our municipal leaders and emergency responders to facilitate a centralized emergency dispatch system that will save our taxpayers money and improve public safety," said Judy Dagostino, Chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature and former Chair of the Legislature's Committee on Intergovernmental Cooperation. "We are all very excited about the prospects for greater efficiency, better coordination and improved effectiveness this consolidated dispatch system will bring to Schenectady County."
In 2005 the Schenectady County Fire Advisory Board brought the concept of a centralized dispatch system to the Schenectady County Legislature. Schenectady County secured a New York State Shared Municipal Services Incentive Grant of $99,000to explore the feasibility of establishing a centralized dispatch system. The feasibility study was completed and recommended the centralizing of dispatch operations to improve public safety, increase effectiveness of response throughout Schenectady County, and reduce costs.
Subsequently, Schenectady County sought and was awarded a NYS Department of State implementation grant in the amount of $1 million for the implementation of centralized dispatch.
This new central dispatch center will provide one central clearinghouse for information permitting immediate notification. Schenectady County will operate the unified communications center for the purpose of call answering and dispatching appropriate service entities for public safety and emergencies in the City of Schenectady and the Towns of Niskayuna, Glenville, including the Village of Scotia, Rotterdam, Duanesburg, including the village of Delanson, and Princetown.
Oversight authority is provided by a committee of the elected leaders from each of the towns, the city and county in the areas of operations, budget, staffing, contracts, and cost sharing. All existing employees of the municipalities who are working as dispatchers have the opportunity to be employed by Schenectady County, so no layoffs will occur.
The Schenectady County Unified Communications Center is expected to open and be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2014.