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Town Eyes Dispatch Center Updates

Computer-based system could save space in dispatch room, though initial estimate ballparks over $250,000.

Town leaders are beginning to explore the feasibility of updating the police station's dispatch system, which Chief Martin Flatley said on Tuesday morning could free up space in the dispatch room for another station – a valuable asset in the case of an emergency such as last year's storm.

Flatley spoke before the town board at its work session in Town Hall, noting that he had one vendor come in to give a ballpark estimate recently. However upon receiving the price – $250,000 to $300,000 – Flatley wanted to double check with the town board to see if it's even worth considering.

The chief said that since the dispatch room was crafted 15 years ago, technology has evolved to the point where some replacement parts for the push-button system are no longer available. In addition, consoles take up space in the room that could be replaced by desktop computers, which would contain software that would perform that same function.

"It's going to have to be done sooner or later in the near future," Flatley said of an eventual upgrade.

Dispatchers at the station handle calls related to police, ambulance, and fire in Southold Town – including Fishers Island – as well as Shelter Island.

While the space isn't an issue most days, during the affects of older equipment can be felt on higher volume days, particularly in the case of an emergency.

"I was in there for the better part of a week during the storm event," said Supervisor Scorr Russell, looking back at Superstorm Sandy's impact last fall. "The layout is very awkward when you have high volume."

Russell said a fourth, separate dispatch station had to be set up in the police station basement to handle overflow calls.

Moving forward, Flatley is going to obtain a few prices and keep an eye out for grant opportunities while Russell said he will explore the possibility of tying in funding related to emergency mitigation measures.

While the department is updating technology in the control room, Councilman Bill Ruland suggested getting prices for GPS devices on cars.

mike edelson April 09, 2013 at 05:54 PM
GPS tracking devices should be on all town vehicles. Not just Police cars.

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