Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco 911 consolidation effort off to rocky start — almost

At first it looked like a typical county-sheriff dust-up — this one with a mere $6,500 price tag.

Pasco Emergency Services Chief Anthony Lopinto told county administrators last Friday that Sheriff Bob White would not pony up his half of a $13,000 tab to link the two agencies' computer-aided dispatch systems.

Getting the two electronic systems to "talk" to each other is the first step toward the County Commission's goal of improving a patchwork 911 operation that is vulnerable to dropped calls and time delays.

"This is problematic because even if we paid his share … he has to be a player for the initiative to work," Lopinto wrote in an e-mail to administrators last week.

On Wednesday, White told the Times that Lopinto was making "a flap out of nothing." He said he had long pushed for the two agencies to use the same system, but that it was the county's decision a few years ago to do its own thing, back when fire rescue needed computer upgrades that the sheriff wasn't ready for.

"They moved away and went out and bought their own system. Then they want us to pay to bring them back," White said. "I guess our staff said 'Why should we pay when you left?' "

By Thursday, after the Times spoke with commissioners and at least one commissioner spoke with the sheriff, White called back.

He said he wasn't going to just pay his half; he was going to foot the whole $13,000 bill.

"We need to get it done," he said. "We're not going to lollygag."

No doubt that'll be a good sign to county officials, who had said they were concerned that the funding issue had meant White did not support consolidation.

"You have to have buy-in," Lopinto said Wednesday. "You have to have the participation after you invest the money. If they won't accept that, there's no sense spending the money."

Back in May, commissioners directed county administrators to come back with a consolidation proposal after a consultant recommended it.

Pasco Fire Rescue is the primary answering point for 911 calls. Calls for police services are transferred to the Sheriff's Office dispatch, which occupies a space at the same west Pasco call center, on the other side of an office wall.

Most cell phone calls, even if they are made within cities, are first relayed to the county dispatch center. Calls from land lines within the cities typically go to the city dispatch centers.

Commissioner Michael Cox, who has been one of the most outspoken advocates for the dispatch consolidation, said he didn't care where the money for the first step comes from as long as the work gets done.

"I am committed to having one dispatch system so that when the people of Pasco call 911, they get help," he said, "and they aren't transferred across the world, or the room."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at or (727) 869-6247.

Pasco 911 consolidation effort off to rocky start — almost 09/02/10 [Last modified: Thursday, September 2, 2010 8:36pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests


    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]