Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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February 9, 2014

Police agencies see benefits from joint dispatch

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — It’s an idea whose goal is to better deploy police resources across Niagara County.

Three months in, a plan that saw dispatchers at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office 911 Center take over directing both deputies and New York State Police troopers from the Lockport and the Town of Niagara barracks appears to be a success.

“I like it, it’s working great,” Niagara County Undersheriff Mike Filicetti said.

Prior to Nov. 1, troopers were dispatched from the State Police barracks on Robinson Road on their own radio frequency. Now the troopers and deputies are on the same frequency.

“We shared calls in the past,” Sheriff Jim Voutour said. “But the critical difference now is the county (sheriff’s) channel is now the primary channel (for dispatching calls).”

Voutour says that has allowed troopers and deputies to monitor each other’s calls and has led to a more efficient deployment of police resources in the county. Trooper posts now mirror sheriff’s deputies’ zones and that means responding cars are evenly spread through the county.

The move has also put more troopers on county roads.

“We have more cars in more places now. And I believe it has improved our response time to calls,” Voutour said.

The Niagara County Public Safety Training Center, which houses the 911 center, was constructed with an eye toward eventually having one consolidated dispatch center to serve all Niagara County residents. The Sheriff’s Office moved its dispatch functions into the center in 2007 and currently dispatches sheriff’s patrol, all town and village police departments, the North Tonawanda police and fire departments and all county volunteer fire and ambulance services.

According to Voutour, the sheriff’s office taking over the state police dispatching was an idea that came from a new State Police zone major.

“He had done a similar thing when he was (stationed) in central New York. One of is his first missions was to (consolidate) the dispatch here,” Voutour said.

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