Sandy police, fire join with Salt Lake dispatch services

Published: Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 11:15 a.m. MDT

Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold watches as police and fire monitor the switching of dispatch centers in Sandy on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013. The switch to Salt Lake dispatch from the Valley Emergency Communications Center was implemented.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SANDY — Sandy's public safety services have joined with Salt Lake dispatch in an effort to provide police and fire crews more timely and accurate information in serving the community.

The city's switch from the Valley Emergency Communications Center to Salt Lake dispatch took place at 5 a.m. Saturday, and a handful of city personnel were on hand at Sandy City Hall throughout the morning to monitor incoming calls during the transition.

"What we’re here doing this morning is making sure everything is running smoothly," Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold said.

Arnold said the new system will allow for more efficient data sharing between the various public safety entities in the county, including Salt Lake City and the Unified police and fire departments.

The combined dispatch service allows the participating agencies to more effectively communicate information with each other, Arnold said, which aids in responding to incidents in the community.

"Having that information sharing is vital in the public safety realm," he said.

Sandy residents likely won't notice a difference when contacting the police or fire departments, but the switch creates a new non-emergency contact number for city services. The public is encouraged to call 801-799-3000 in non-emergency situations.

"For emergencies, it’s still 911," said Sandy Fire Deputy Chief Bruce Cline. "Nothing’s changed there."

Cline said the new system has also allowed for upgrades in the fire department's alarm system. When a call comes in to the station, a series of electronic notification boards are activated in both fire trucks and the fire station, cutting down on the potential for human error and allowing crews to mobilize and respond between 15 seconds and one minute more quickly, he said.

"That could mean the difference between life and death," Cline said. "A minute can save someone’s life."

Arnold said the first several hours following the system switch passed without any hiccups. He said city officials are confident the switch will lead to more efficient service.

"This is going to make things, we feel, smoother and faster in the overall process," Arnold said.

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com

Twitter: bjaminwood

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