Tucsons largest 911 communications center not only has its highest level of staffing ever.
It also has a new strategy that integrates personnel from TPD and local fire agencies, who are there with call takers and dispatchers as emergency calls come in.
I feel like were really on the cutting edge of the way police work is going to be done as we move forward. Everywhere. Not just here, but across the country, said lieutenant Troy Perrin, who takes two decades of TPD experience into the communications center.
In lieu of more personnel, which we dont have, we can use technology to help make us more efficient, he said, acknowledging TPDs own hiring challenges.
As emergency calls come in, Perrin is gathering details and doing research for the officers who are responding.
[Its] to try and create an environment where they can respond more safely and efficiently, he explained/ What is it if I was working that call that I would want to know?
Firefighters now get similar help from an Alarm Room Captain stationed with dispatchers 24/7.
Northwest Fire captain Matthew Davis is one of them. They are a liaison for nine different local fire agencies when calls come in.
Were kind of that informational hub to get them new resources they need, said Davis. One of the biggest reasons that were able to support the dispatchers is that were that intermediary, they speak the language of the field and can kinda get the resources needed through that common terminology.
Davis says thats especially helpful during stressful situations like this winters nitric acid spill on I-10, leading to nearly 70 calls for support from fire crews.
If we require a different unit to be added to the call or a change in the response plan, thats something the Alarm Room Captains are able to do, said Davis.
Police, Fire and 911 dispatchers have always worked together, but now they are understanding each other better, according to Tucson Public Safety Communications director Sharon McDonough.
She says the plans began to take shape about two years ago. Another step came before that, when current TPD chief Chad Kasmar spent a year as interim PSCD director.
She adds that the agencies also meet monthly to talk about how to best communicate.
They get to bring problems from the field about, Hey if you guys could just do this thing a little different, we would understand you better, she said. So that piece of the learning has just been amazing.
We get to see the benefit to the dispatchers which is something that I had missed for the majority of my career, said Davis. So I really like being down here and enjoying being able to support them, as they have supported us.
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