It was just a few years ago when local officials began work in ernest to develop a centralized emergency dispatch center at the Erie County Sheriff's Office they hoped would be more cost efficient and be an upgrade in services.
It worked, and the effort also resulted in a new level of cooperation among police and fire departments across the county. The new centralized system provides more precise information about where officers are located in police cruisers across the county in relation to where an emergency is occurring, improving response times and efficiencies.
The consolidation of emergency dispatchers in one location also has improved services to the community and streamlined costs so it is shared in a proportional way in the different communities that are served.
Earlier this month, the county introduced a new reporting system that will make all police reports across departments uniform and includes a centralized database of information on past incidents, local crime records and other important information that police officers and detectives regularly need to access.
Centralized dispatch has been a success in Erie County, and we think that shows promise that other services can be consolidated to reduce expenditures and improve performance. There are many unique communities in Erie County, just as there are many unique neighborhoods within those communities. We are really just one region, however, and regionalized government services in other areas of government, we believe, is an inevitable part of our future.
Centralized dispatch shows, with the right people in the right positions, and with the spirit of cooperation, we can make it work .