GULFPORT — The new Pinellas County Emergency Communications Call Center should have no effect on the city's proposal to turn dispatch services over to the Sheriff's Office, according to county officials.
The City Council is to cast its final vote tonight on the 2011-2012 budget. The budget, approved on first reading this month, calls for outsourcing police dispatching to the sheriff at an estimated savings of about $300,000 a year after the program is up and running.
Some residents are concerned that contracting with the sheriff will become a moot point when the county takes over all dispatching duties upon completion of the new 911 center, behind the existing center at Ulmerton Road and Seminole Boulevard, in 2013.
But Chuck Freeman, 911 systems manager for Pinellas County, explained it this way:
Right now, Pinellas County has one primary 911 center for fire and EMS calls and 10 secondary communication centers in the Sheriff's Office and police departments.
When a call related to law enforcement comes in, it is routed to the appropriate police department.
When the new building is done, the Sheriff's Office and the 911 center will both go into that building. The logistics — how or whether the dispatching units will be combined — have not yet been worked out, Freeman said.
But regardless of how it's done, it will have no impact on Gulfport, Freeman said.