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Richmond Proposing to Combine 911 Centers

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The City of Richmond is looking to save money by combining 911 centers. The City of Richmond is looking to save money by combining 911 centers.
RICHMOND (WRIC) - The City of Richmond is looking to save money by combining 911 centers.

The idea is to actually improve response time if you have to call 911. The mayor's idea is to create one new department of emergency communications, but it does involve spending millions first.

Right now if you call 9-1-1 in Richmond, your call is answered by a staff overseen by Richmond Police. If medical attention is needed for your call, it's transferred over to the Richmond Ambulance Authority.

Mayor Jones wants all of that under one roof.

"We've been trying to find ways to streamline services at a cost savings," says the Mayor's spokesperson Tammy Hawley.

Before savings, the mayor wants $3.7 million to move Ambulance Authority dispatchers over to the Richmond office and expanding that office into one emergency center.

According to the proposal, the move could reduce response times by more than 1 minute and 20 seconds for approximately 18,000 calls annually.

This plan doesn't just call for moving the dispatchers under one roof, but also paves the way for new technology. For instance, using your cell phone to text 911 instead of just being able to call.

It would also continue to improve communication with neighboring areas like Henrico or Chesterfield. That technology requires installing a new 800 megahertz tower in each location. But millions can be saved if the city just installs one.

"Under the current scenario, we need a tower in two places," Hawley says. "Under this scenario, we only need a tower in one place.

Annually, this move would save the city about $100,000. City Council still has to approve this budget and the move would likely be sometime in the next five years.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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