County, cities aim to consolidate 911 dispatching


By Kevin Spradlin

ROCKINGHAM — The governing bodies of Richmond County and the cities of Rockingham and Hamlet aim to consolidate emergency 911 dispatching operations throughout Richmond County.

Donna Wright, director of emergency services for Richmond County, is on the agenda to speak tonight during the City Council meetings in both Hamlet (7 p.m.) and Rockingham (7:30 p.m.). Both meetings are open to the public.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

In his written report to Mayor Steve Morris and City Council members, Rockingham City Manager Monty Crump said the move would result in an overall savings of taxpayer dollars and increase efficiencies.

“Currently in downtown Rockingham, the city, county (911) and sheriff’s (office) have three sets of dispatchers and equipment providing emergency communications to their respective agencies all located within about a quarter o fa mile from one another,” Crump said in his report. “Consolidation would merge all of this into one agency to provide services to all participating agencies. Rockingham Fire Department migrated integrated emergency communications to 911 several years ago and it has worked well.”

The consolidation, if approved, would require the construction of a new emergency dispatching center — paid for through grants and 911 fees.

“As noted in the (draft) agreement, every effort will be made to reemploy displaced dispatchers at the new 911 center,” Crump said.

The consolidated 911 services would fall under Wright’s supervision and a newly established Richmond County Emergency Communications organization. A Law Enforcement Advisory Committee would make recommendations in the development of dispatch protocols, procedures and policies and systems related to service delivery for law enforcement. The committee would be comprised of representatives from the Rockingham Police Department, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, an emergency services representative and Wright — and, presumably, from the Hamlet Police Department thought the draft agreement obtained by The Pee Dee Post does not mention that.

All dispatchers would be county employees and the “RCEC is intended to be a self-sufficient entity financed by 911 fees, grants and funds provided by the county,” according to the draft agreement.

The issue was not discussed on Feb. 2 during the county commissioners’ monthly public meeting.

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