Committee recommends joint dispatch services at new jail

By Lisa Treiber-Walter —

When it comes to dispatching emergency services, the citizens of Gillespie County would be better served if the county and city combined their operations in the new jail.

That was the claim made to Gillespie County Commissioners on Monday in the final report of the “Joint Dispatch Research Committee,” presented by chairman Kent Myers, Fredericksburg city manager.

“I think the committee did a good job. It was not an easy process … there were a lot of lively discussions in our meetings,” Myers said. “But I think all the members were committed to providing the best possible dispatching to the citizens of the county and city.”

The Joint Dispatch Research Committee was formed after a combined city council/county commission meeting last year.

Its 22 members began meeting nine months ago and were taxed with determining the best structure for dispatch operations if they were all moved to the new, $15 million jail currently being constructed behind the Gillespie County Law Enforcement Center on Industrial Loop.

The group also took two field trips to examine operations in Kendall and Burnet counties.

From its research, the committee made five major recommendations to the county.

First, it agreed that the city and county dispatch operations should be consolidated into one at the new jail. A benefit of such consolidation would be “a lot better coordination if we ever get involved in a major incident or major emergency,” Myers said.

“We’ll have all the dispatchers under one roof so they can work with each other and I think you’ll see a lot better coordination in that operation versus two operations,” he said.

Another benefit would be that it would cut down on response times, particularly with fire and emergency ambulance calls, Myers said.

“Right now, 911 calls come into the PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) and then they’re having to be transferred to the city fire station, so there is a delay,” he said.

Lastly, joining the dispatch services would save costs in the future.

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