Pros, Cons of Regionalizing 911 Dispatch Centers

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How “local” should 911 centers be? On one hand, a regionwide 911 call center could coordinate well with many different emergency responders and save money through economies of scale. On the other hand, a local dispatch center provides local jobs and ensures that dispatchers are acutely knowledgeable of their territory, guiding responders to every nook and cranny in the county.

These very issues were at stake in an article Wednesday in the Port Townsend Leader. In Jefferson County, leaders are contemplating farming out dispatch services to either Clallam or Kitsap county, says Allison Arthur.

The first sentence to her story says it all:

“Call 911 today in Jefferson County and odds are the dispatcher answering the call lives in the county and knows where the buffalo roam off State Route 19.”

How much is that worth? That’s what Jefferson County, it seems, must decide.

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