Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties partner up for 911 support system

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COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – First responders in Albany, Rensselaer and Saratoga are all joining forces to create a technical dispatch support system.

The 911 phone and records management service will help police, fire and ambulance agencies to share data and provide immediate back up during emergency situations.

The system will cover nearly 700-thousand people across the three counties and is being paid for through bonds, county funds, and grants.

Right now, dispatch systems across Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties work completely differently and the systems can’t communicate with each other easily.

“It’s always been dispatch you can reach out to, Rensselaer county dispatch and advise them. Now it will be a matter of its right there on the computer, “said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

Albany County Sherriff Craig Apple said with the new shared system that will all change.

Emergency personnel will know a lot more about the calls they’re responding to before they even get there.

“They’ll have all of the information of what’s going on the scene. They’ll be able to get their trauma kits ready or whatever the case may be. They might have to call for more ambulances,” said Sherriff Apple.

Saratoga County sheriff Mike Zurlo said a system like this would have helped during last week’s storm.

“I think in a 3 hour period we fielded over 690 911 calls. And then to have these other counties on board, the influx of calls can be switched over to Albany or Rensselaer county. No phone call gets dropped or unanswered,” said Sherriff Zurlo.

And with all three counties switching to the new system at the same time, it’s going to save a lot of money.

“Saving all the maintenance fees, saving all the licensing fees, which is going to save us an additional $200 thousand a year just for Albany county,” said Sheriff Apple.

Albany County will also save one million dollars up front, Saratoga County will save $1.6 Million, and Rensselaer will save more than half a million dollars. But most importantly, “This will in fact save lives and it’s saving a ton of money”.

“If we have a call in another county for mutual aid, or we have a mass casualty or something to that effect. Everyone coming into the county and everyone within the county will have real-time information and real-time data sharing while their en route, while they’re on the scene, whatever the case may be,” said Albany County Sherriff Craig Apple

In total the new system will cost $5.5 million but will actually save municipalities and taxpayers a lot of money.

Right now, dispatch systems across Albany, Rensselaer, and Saratoga Counties work completely differently and the systems can’t communicate with each other easily.

The system is expected to be in place by the end of 2017.

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