Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Consolidated 911 Center Under Construction

The new 911 center in Wentworth will save money and provide more efficient operations, removing the need for separate 911 centers in Eden and Reidsville.
Jul 30, 2013

State and local officials held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for a new consolidated 911 communications center in Rockingham County. Using one of the two consolidation grants authorized by a change in statute (SL 2010-158), this consolidation merges three primary public safety answering points (PSAPs), or 911 call centers, into one. The new center will be built behind the Rockingham County Judicial Center off N.C. Highway 65 in Wentworth. When completed in late 2014, the center will accept emergency calls from anywhere in the county.

George Bakolia, chairman of the North Carolina 911 Board, says the state assessed the cost effectiveness and efficiency of several projects before awarding the grant of $7.8 million to Rockingham County. The new consolidated 911 center will save money and provide more efficient operations, eliminating the need for separate 911 centers in Eden and Reidsville.

It will also require cooperation among several jurisdictions within the county, something state officials said has been difficult to do in other North Carolina communities. 

“Consolidation of anything is a cultural challenge. People are unwilling (to consolidate) because of politics or defending their turf,” Bakolia said at the ceremony.

“You guys are leaders not only in Rockingham but across North Carolina,” said Richard Taylor, executive director of the North Carolina 911 Board. 

Local officials said working together hadn’t always been easy. They credited the current and past police chiefs from Eden and Reidsville with getting together to push for the project. “Hopefully we will see a lot more of these collaborations in the future,” said Lance Metzler, Rockingham County Manager .

The 911 Board is responsible for wireline, wireless and VoIP ( voice over Internet Protocol) 911 service in North Carolina. A statewide service charge per connection funds the operation of voice communications service providers and PSAPs in every county.

For more information about Rockingham County’s new 911 center, see the Rockingham Now article.