January 30 was homecoming for the Talbot County Department of Emergency Services.
Departmental personnel moved into a newly renovated 9-1-1 Communications Center at 605 Port Street after a 14-month absence. What’s more, their return marked the final step in a creative and strategic merger between the Town of Easton’s Police Department and Talbot County Emergency Services.
“Talbot County Emergency Services is now providing police dispatching services for the Town of Easton,” DES Director Clay Stamp explains. “The consolidation of our dispatching services allows for more direct communication between emergency callers and the dispatch of officers.”
Stamp and Easton Police Chief David Spencer had been discussing such a merger for some time, but the renovation of the 9-1-1 Center provided the perfect opportunity to implement their plan.
“We were both having a hard time finding and keeping competent dispatchers, and we were competing with each other for the best people,” Spencer notes. “Their dispatchers were already working closely with our police officers, but they weren’t connected closely with each other. Merging the departments just made sense on a lot of fronts.”
With the closing of the 9-1-1 Center, Talbot County’s dispatchers moved to the Easton Police Department. Having the two groups of employees work closely together before the merger helped lay the ground work for a successful transition.
“This merger is good for everyone,” Spencer says. “It makes good fiscal sense, and it makes a better product for the public and for the first responders. We can get the resources to people a lot faster now than we could before, and it makes a better flow of information between the dispatchers and the fire and emergency responders.”
In conjunction with the move, Talbot County also switched to the statewide Motorola Maryland First Responder Radio Communications System for all radio communications. Public safety and emergency personnel will benefit by having enhanced regional and statewide radio interoperability with direct communication links to State agencies.
A new 9-1-1 Emergency Call Works phone system also was installed. Through the use of state-of-the-art enhanced mapping technology, dispatchers now have the ability to obtain the location of callers requesting assistance through 9-1-1.
In the coming months, Talbot County DES will be rolling out a new Caliber Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that will allow dispatchers to track resources and better communicate with law enforcement and emergency responders through mobile terminals. This is the same system the State policing agencies already use to communicate and share information.
“These public safety technology upgrades will significantly enhance Talbot County’s ability to serve the public safety and emergency services needs of its citizens,” says Talbot County Council President Jennifer Williams. “Partnering with the State of Maryland and leveraging the use of numerous technologies demonstrate creativity from both cost and performance perspectives.”
For more information, please contact Clay Stamp, Talbot County Emergency Services Director/Asst. County Manager.