The Capital Regional District aims to open a new regional police dispatch centre by 2019.
The CRD-owned, shared state-of-the-art post-disaster facility announced Monday will serve as the first point of contact for 9-1-1 and will house call-taking for all policing agencies in the region.
“CRD staff have been working hard with the South Island Police Dispatch Steering Committee to finalize facility planning for this new dispatch centre and we look forward to breaking ground in 2017,” said Barbara Desjardins, CRD board chair. “We are confident that this project will improve service to the public, increase officer safety and provide efficiencies for local governments, police and the RCMP.”
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris said consolidating dispatch services has many advantages, including improving co-ordination between police agencies so they can better respond to large emergencies that cross municipal boundaries. The province contributed $100,000 to support the consolidation of 9-1-1 services.
The initiative is led by the South Island Police Dispatch Steering Committee, composed of police chiefs from Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria, and representatives of the RCMP, the Province of British Columbia, Capital Regional District and E-Comm.
“Oak Bay hasn’t had its own in-house dispatch for coming on 13 years now, so we are already relying on a consolidated call centre,” Sgt. Rob Smith of Oak Bay Police said after the announcement. “Further co-ordination, through E-Comm services will only help to improve co-ordinated efforts between all south Island agencies.”
The 13,000-square-foot, two-storey building at 4219 Commerce Circle in Saanich will feature a communications centre in an open workspace concept.
“The South Island consolidated dispatch centre will be a modern post-disaster building built to withstand greater seismic, wind and snow loads,” Desjardins said.
The 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation will also be equipped with redundancies for all mechanical and electrical.
“It’s nice to know that the communications centre is going to still be standing when all the emergency services are going to need them the most,” Smith said.
Construction is to start later this year with completion expected in 2019.