The Union County Board of Freeholders celebrated the opening of a state-of-the-art dispatch center in the Ralph Froehlich Public Safety Building, located at 300 North Avenue East, on Monday, Oct. 1, which will be occupied daily by four highly-trained, experienced dispatchers, according to Department of Public Safety Director Andrew Moran.
They will have communication with eight municipalities, and the center is capable of expanding in the event that other towns want to enter into shared services. Freeholder Christopher Hudak noted that other towns have already seen the center and are “enthusiastic about the infrastructure here.”
In 2010, the borough of Fanwood agreed to route its police, fire, and emergency medical service (EMS) through the dispatch center, and after Hurricane Irene, it became even clearer that pooling recourses with other communities would make for a much quicker response to emergencies throughout the county and even into South Orange.
Since then, Roselle, Springfield, and Hillside have also routed their services in the center, and dispatch for Scotch Plains EMS, two paramedic units out of Robert Wood Johnson, and services in Roselle Park also come through.
Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella stated, “This new Dispatch Center marks a significant transformation of the emergency response infrastructure in Union County, bringing us up to date with the most advanced technologies to serve our first responders and the public.”
He added that the center is also a benefit to taxpayers. “[It] is an excellent example of a shared county-local service that enables local governments to manage their costs while gaining quality. Our municipalities are getting access to a level of expertise and technology that would be extremely difficult to support on their own.”
The original operation in the same location held only two dispatch consoles, the new center holds nine, each capable of communicating with any public safety agency in Union County. The Department of Public Safety will be transitioning out of a temporary dispatch center in the Froehlich Building and into the new one over the next few days.
“Union County is a dynamic, densely populated area where trends in emergency preparedness are constantly changing,” said Moran. “This new facility will enable [the county] to continue operating at tops levels of effectiveness . . . I am confident that this will be the best dispatch center in the county, if not in the country.”
Mirabella agreed, “The bottom line is that emergency responders throughout the region can now share a facility that enables them to manage their costs while providing a higher level of service, and that’s a win-win for everyone.”