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Carrollton weighs 911 changes

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

City officials look at options outside of Denco district

Denco Area 911 District officials continue to work through jurisdiction talks with the city of Carrollton, which is considering 911 service consolidation with Coppell, Farmers Branch and Addison.

“Our role is 911 administration,” said Mark Payne, executive director of Denco 911. “The public’s perception of 911 may be everything from the time you make the call to when someone shows up at your house. We’re the first phase of the public safety pipeline. Our systems receive the calls and route them to the appropriate agency.”

The actual taking of the call and dispatching of resources is outside Denco’s area of responsibility, Payne said.

Carrollton has worked with its neighboring jurisdictions for quite a few years in various consolidation and cost-saving measures, and this is merely another one, city officials said. Where it complicates Denco 911’s job is that the other three cities are not in the agency’s jurisdiction.

“Our board of managers gave staff direction to work with Carrollton to make sure they can consolidate like they need to, but for us to make sure we’re covering Carrollton’s portion so we make sure we can continue to serve the citizens of Carrollton,” Payne said.

There is some talk that the other cities could start getting their 911 services from the North Central Texas Council of Governments, but ultimately, their provider of choice has not been set.

Typically, there are a few regional or consolidated dispatch operations, said Leonard Martin, Carollton city manager, noting Duncanville, Desoto and Cedar Hill as an example.

“What we’re doing with Addison, Farmers Branch and Coppell … having a single public safety dispatch center, that will improve response, save more lives and do it cheaper on the dispatch end,” Martin said.

He said officials will put more transponders on police cars, ambulances and fire trucks in the four cities so the dispatch center will send the nearest vehicle and personnel.

“What happens now is, you dispatch your own or it takes a while to call another city to get theirs going, which results in a delay of six to eight minutes,” Martin said.

“The other three cities are going to use the COG’s [council of governments’] call routing system so it will be necessary for us to move in this direction,” Martin said. “One thing that Denco has offered is we would get our service through the COG and Denco would pay for the service; the other option is to leave Denco.”

That final decision is in the hands of the Carrollton City Council, Martin said.

Payne said that no matter which provider the city uses, the Denco Area 911 District will work with them.

“They’re trying to save money and provide better service to their constituents, and we have an ongoing obligation and desire to serve our citizens in our district,” he said.

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and via Twitter at @BjlewisDRC.