Union County State-of-the-Art Dispatch Center Opens

Center is an example of shared services, said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella.

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.”  

Keith October 02, 2012 at 11:23 AM
There is no bigger waste of our tax dollars than County Government. It should be abolished.
Douglas S. October 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
The only way we will survive and reduce town costs will be additional sharing of services and possible combination ay Municipalities. A positive step supported by Gov. Christie.
Mike Nemeth October 02, 2012 at 01:52 PM
The Union County Freeholders want to move forward with a $25 million spending plan at the former Oak Ridge golf course. Where does the money come from for this? If it's a new bond, meaning more debt, shouldn't the residents of Union County be able to vote on this just like the Westfield Bond issue? Are county Freeholders allowed to borrow and increase taxes at will? http://www.nj.com/union/index.ssf/2012/09/little_has_changed_at_oak_ridg.html
Jeff B October 02, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Conceptually sharing services makes sense, because you can have lower fixed overhead costs (buildings) and can staff to meet larger and more predictable demand. Unfortunately, from the Federal government on down, the bigger the government supplying the service the more waste, inefficiency and corruption there seems to be, so you rarely get any real savings. I agree with Keith that Union County government is the worst. The tax bills that just came out show them getting 22% of our real estate tax dollars. That is a great deal of money from me for little tangible benefit.
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