Westmoreland 911 dispatch center in line for $1.4M upgrade with vote

| Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland County's 911 emergency dispatch center will get a $1.4 million upgrade.

County commissioners on Thursday approved the purchase of 27 new dispatch consoles from Motorola Solutions Inc. of Schaumburg, Ill., to replace equipment that has become obsolete after more than two decades of service.

The consoles are used by 911 dispatchers to call out police, fire and ambulance crews to emergencies.

Dan Stevens, spokesman for the county's public safety department, said the new equipment is needed because the consoles have become too old and must be taken out of service at the end of the year.

And the new equipment will be an upgrade, he said. The new technology will be compatible with 911 systems in Indiana and Armstrong counties.

Over the last several years, Westmoreland and those two neighboring counties have purchased equipment that enables 911 calls to be switched to dispatch centers in all three jurisdictions in emergency scenarios.

“These are the same consoles they bought in Indiana and Armstrong, so we'll be able to interface with those counties. It gives us more of an opportunity for a backup and redundancies,” Stevens said.

Although county commissioners approved the purchase Thursday, they said they still don't know where the money will come from to pay for the project.

“We have multiple possibilities,” said Commissioner Charles Anderson. “We'll take it out of one pocket and put it in another.”

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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