The dispatch center at the on Wheeler Road recently underwent a complete renovation. The entire room was gutted and the equipment was replaced -- a much-needed upgrade within the station.
Lieutenant Robert Kozlowsky said the renovation took about four weeks to complete, and the new center was up and running on July 3. The floor, wall and ceiling work was completed by the city's building maintenance department, and the furniture was ordered from a company in Colorado. AT&T did most of the work with the phone lines.
"The challenge was getting all those different groups together to be ready at the same time," Kozlowsky said. "The furniture was shipped and coming regardless, so we had to move quickly to get the floors done and make sure everything was in place."
Chief Joel Hurliman said the project cost around $200,000, most of it paid through city grants. The technological upgrades have already proven helpful in creating a conducive environment for managing public safety. With the new furniture, dispatchers and officers no longer have to step over computer towers and screens that had no other place to be stored than the floor.
"There wasn't even room for a paper clip in there," Hurliman said.
One major useful change is that dispatchers can review and control their equipment much more easily. "Now everything is centralized on one screen," Chris Brosz said. "Before we had all different buttons on the desk for fire tones, EMS and police, but now you can just click back and forth between all those. We also have a hotline to talk to units in other towns."
A third console has been added to the dispatch center, designated for supervisor use during heavy call traffic situations such as during a storm.
"Before we would be leaning over the dispatchers and reaching over them to answer the phones at their consoles. With a third person in the room having their own space, much, much time is saved and it takes some pressure off the two people on duty," Hurliman said.
The station also installed a brand new uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system, which will provide the entire building with backup emergency power for about an hour, should the need arise.
"Before this we had several small units that gave power only to critical stuff and only at small amounts of time," Kozlowsky said. "This UPS keeps everything on: lights, phones, computers. It makes sure nothing gets kicked offline."
The radio equipment has also been brought up to date; it allows interoperability and now enables the emergency services to communicate with each other even though they are all on different frequencies.
“It’s a benefit to the whole city and all of its emergency services, not just the police department,” Hurliman said.