By Marty Griffin – KDKA
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Quicker call times and greater efficiency. That’s what City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials are saying about the consolidation of 911 service.
It has been a long and controversial process, but leaders say it was well worth the wait.
Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald say the county and the city must work together to consolidate every service possible, including 911.
“This is kind of the final step of consolidating the city and county operations together,” said Fitzgerald. “They’ve been located in the same place together, but now there’s going to be actual sameness, if you will.”
“It creates greater efficiency, it creates the ability for the call times to become much less. It allows a better opportunity for the responders to be their earlier to be able to save lives,” added Peduto.
All of this will start rolling next week with training. The consolidation is expected to be completed by mid-September.
The county 911 center handles 1.3 million calls per year and serves 130 municipalities,197 fire department, 111 police departments and 51 EMS agencies.
Local leaders believe consolidation is the only way to manage that.
“The county has gone from 46 dispatch centers to seven regional dispatch centers, to the one center we have here today,” said Fitzgerald.
Now the concern is how to provide funding to keep the 911 center operating at a high level.
Local leaders are lobbying the state for what they call a fair funding formula to address these needs.