Emergency officials discuss co-location of dispatchers

Jake Old • Mar 10, 2017 at 1:13 PM

Leaders of emergency and law enforcement agencies met with members of the Wilson County Emergency Communications 911 Board on Friday morning to discuss the possibility of bringing dispatchers from each agency in the county together under one roof.

The board met in a work session, and representatives from local agencies were invited to give their thoughts on the issue.

Karen Moore, director of emergency communications, prepared a presentation for the meeting. She listed several options for co-locating, including the possibility of expanding the existing 911 building, moving to a different existing building and building a new building, all with various costs.

Board members and officials at the meeting pointed out that, if possible, trying to move into the existing 911 building could be the most cost-effective move.

However, the site might not have enough room to house dispatchers from 911, Wilson County Emergency Management Agency, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office and police and fire departments from Lebanon and Mt. Juliet.

Additional costs could come from necessary technology additions.

Sheriff Robert Bryan said he wants to move forward in some way as soon as possible.

“I’d be willing to move in today,” he said.

Making that initial move could likely house 911, WEMA and sheriff’s office dispatchers together in the 911 building without any sort of added construction. Adding on to the building or finding a new location would likely be required to fit the rest of the agencies.

“Let’s be clear. We should be thinking about the future,” Bryan said. “We shouldn’t just make this move and say, ‘well, we solved the problem.’ We should always be thinking about future growth.”

David Hale, a 911 Board member, asked a general question of those in the room, as to whether everyone was in agreement that moving toward co-location was in the best interest of everyone in the county. The board could not take any sort of vote, because the state open meetings law does not allow votes during work sessions. No one in attendance spoke against co-location.

Joey Cooper, WEMA director, said it would be a process to get his department’s dispatchers moved to a new location, but he was on board with the idea. Multiple levels of county government would need to sign off on any such move.

“I’m willing to do whatever is needed if I am asked to,” Cooper said.

Mt. Juliet police Lt. Tyler Chandler said his department is in favor of co-location. Lebanon police Chief Mike Justice said he would like to see every department together, as well.

The 911 Board will meet Monday at 4 p.m. in its next regular meeting, and board members plan to formally approve moving forward with co-locating. 

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