Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — County dispatchers have full 911 accreditation status from New York state, signifying they have been thoroughly trained in dispatching, according to the sheriff’s office.
Voutour said the new dispatch arrangement with the State Police comes at a time when governments are being asked to cut expenses and share services. Combining dispatching into one central location is advantageous, he said.
The county’s emergency communication system is being upgraded now. The $10 million project involves construction of new radio towers around the county, acquisition of new radios and equipment and, simultaneously, switching emergency communications to the “narrow” band of the broadcast spectrum, to to free up additional space for first responders and private industry.
The Sheriff’s Office received a $750,000 state grant to upgrade computer-aided dispatching. Voutour said Niagara County applied for the annual grant last year and received the biggest award in the state.
The upgrade will allow all police, fire and emergency agencies to share the same software system and, therefore, the same information.
In a statement, State Police Capt. Craig Hanesworth said he believes consolidation of dispatch services “provides the citizens of Niagara County with the best in police service and response times while also providing for an increase in the safety of our officers.”
Troopers who have been handling dispatch or clerical work will now be reassigned to road patrol, Hanesworth said.
People can still contact staff at the State Police barracks for non-emergencies by calling 434-5589.
There will also be an emergency call box at the front door of the Lockport barracks that will ring into the 911 center. The closest available police car will be dispatched to the barracks, State Police said.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.