May 13, 2020 (ANCHORAGE) – The Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the City of Palmer have entered into an agreement to consolidate emergency communication services to improve law enforcement services to all Alaskans. The agreement means that the build out of an Anchorage Emergency Communication Center project will cease and instead be moved to the existing dispatch center in Palmer to be built out. Through working with a partner agency, the planning and implementation of the project continues to evolve to meet the needs of the DPS to better our services to all Alaskans and cost savings will be realized for both parties.
The ability to call 9-1-1 from a wireless (cellular) telephone and have a reliable call back number as well as location provided to the emergency services dispatcher is an essential component in providing public safety services. If the call drops, having a call back number is essential in gathering the nature of the emergency as well as staying in contact with the caller for up to date information exchange. Having a caller’s location, especially for callers off the road system, is crucial in finding an incident location and appropriately directing law enforcement, fire, rescue or emergency medical responders.
“This agreement is a win for all of Alaskans because Alaskans traverse all corners of our state and emergencies can happen anywhere. This service has been available to our urban areas for decades. Right now, 80% of our geography isn’t covered by enhanced 911 services,” said Commissioner Amanda Price, Department of Public Safety. “Daily, we have incidents such as search and rescues and sexual assaults, and more across our state. Having a location of a 911 call will allow troopers to arrive on scene quickly and save lives not just of those who live in rural communities, but Alaskans and visitors enjoying all our state has to offer as they camp and fish. DPS believes all Alaskans deserve this life saving service, and that it is well past time to provide equality of this service to rural Alaska. DPS is so thankful to the community of Palmer for their partnership and support. This partnership, without question, will save lives.”
When complete, the new South Operations Center (SOC) located within the Alaska State Troopers’ Palmer Post along with the North Operations Center (NOC) in Fairbanks will provide the foundation for receiving enhanced 9-1-1, location-specific, calls from the public and dispatching the Alaska State Troopers and the Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT) statewide. The geographic diversity ensures continuous operations of DPS’s emergency communications services in the event of a regional disaster, such as an earthquake. Implementing the CAD system and the upgrade to Wireless 9-1-1 allows for increased officer safety and better public safety services to all Alaskans.
The SOC build out will be completed in early 2021. The two DPS emergency communications centers are primarily for DPS operations. They will be secondary to existing local jurisdiction 9-1-1 call centers.
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