911 Emergency Dispatch Centers To Merge In Everett

computer aided dispatch

Dispatch merger should speed response times for fire and police.

Today the Boards of Directors of SNOCOM & SNOPAC voted to consolidate the county’s two 9-1-1 dispatch centers effective January 1st of next year. The combined center will operate out of the building that houses SNOPAC in the Everett Police precinct on Everett Mall Way. There will be no layoffs with the board saying natural attrition will lower the number of employees within the next year or two. The cost for Everett is likely to increase somewhat. MyEverettNews.com asked SNOPAC Director Kurt Mills what specific impact the merger has on the City of Everett…

The elimination of 45,000 transfers annually impacts every part of the county either directly or indirectly. Everett will also experience improvements in joint responses along their borders with Mukilteo and in general there will be closer integration between all law enforcement and fire.

I’ve included Everett’s assessments for 2017 & 2018, assessments for 2019 will be developed next year. As background the assessments are derived from a formula based on activity (calls for service), assessed value, service levels and population and as these change so will an agency’s assessments. Snohomish County 911 will use a different formula from the one used at SNOPAC and SNOCOM today. The different formulas produced an increase of 1.5% using budget year 2017 inputs assuming the PSAP was right-sized meaning the labor savings had been recognized. We estimate being right sized within one to two years.

Year Everett Assessment
2017 $1,844,597
2018 $1,910,126

Here’s the full press release issued today…

Today Boards from SNOCOM & SNOPAC voted to consolidate the county’s two 9-1-1 centers effective 1/1/2018.
For more than a year and half, elected officials and staff from the County’s two 9-1-1 agencies, police and fire agencies, and SERS (emergency radio system), have been studying whether to consolidate the two Snohomish County 9-1-1 PSAP (Public Safety Answer Point) Dispatch Centers into a single agency. A Joint Task Force was formed looking at ways to improve service and reduce costs while maintaining the necessary level of system resiliency and redundancy and ensuring a fair governance model that provides for the interests of the community, first responders and employees of SNOCOM & SNOPAC.

Consolidation is the first step toward eliminating the 45,000 to 50,000 9-1-1 transfers that occur between the two centers each year. With today’s technology some 911 transfers are unavoidable, however the sheer volume of transfers between SNOPAC & SNOCOM was something everyone wanted to address. In addition to eliminating these transfers there is a projected cost savings of nearly $1 million annually.

“Careful analysis and consideration has shown that this consolidation will improve overall responsiveness to emergency calls while also allowing for substantial cost savings. Doing things better and more efficiently makes this the right choice for the taxpayers of Snohomish County,” said Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring.

Early on in this study, the Boards agreed that any labor reductions would occur over time through attrition and that there would be no layoffs. It is projected the new agency will be right-sized in a short time of one to two years. “The professional police and fire 9-1-1 operators at SNOCOM & SNOPAC work behind the scenes to get the public the help they need and protect our first responders,” said SNOPAC Director Kurt Mills. “It’s a critical mission and so it was important that our employees didn’t have to worry about job security while the study was completed,” added SNOCOM Director Terry Peterson.

SNOPAC Board Chair and Fire District 7 Assistant Fire Chief Steve Guptill expressed his appreciation to the staff at both dispatch centers, the two Boards, and police and fire agencies who “have placed public safety above all other interests with this merger. We are eager to complete this transition and continue to look for additional ways to improve our public safety system in Snohomish County.”

“Both SNOCOM & SNOPAC have a long and esteemed history of service to our County and by joining forces we will continue that legacy together,” said SNOCOM Board Chair and Mountlake Terrace Mayor Jerry Smith.

SNOPAC and SNOCOM were formed in the 1970’s in the early days of 9-1-1. In 2017 these two centers answer approximately 1,800 9-1-1 calls a day and provide dispatch services to 49 police and fire agencies serving a population of nearly 775,000 within Snohomish County. The dedicated professionals of these agencies have “answered the call” and acted as a lifeline both for the public and the county’s first responders for decades and will continue to provide this critical service to the community, united as Snohomish County 9-1-1.

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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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