Shelby Township Police Department to relocate, unretire old 911 call center

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 8, 2019

  The Shelby Township Police Department will move its old 911 call server to Fire Station No. 1 to serve as the backup 911 call center.

The Shelby Township Police Department will move its old 911 call server to Fire Station No. 1 to serve as the backup 911 call center.

Photo provided by the Shelby Township Police Department

 The department currently has a new call center located  at the Police Department.

The department currently has a new call center located at the Police Department.

Photo provided by the Shelby Township Police Department

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Shelby Township Board of Trustees approved at its April 2 meeting the Shelby Township Police Department’s request for the cost of time and materials to move its old 911 server to the main backup center at Fire Station No. 1, 6345 23 Mile Road.

The cost of this move will be $8,595, and it will include bringing the old center out of storage.

“The move will happen as soon as we can schedule that with AT&T. They will be installing the older version of the VIPER phone system that we placed in storage about six months ago after the new VIPER upgraded phone system was installed in the main communications center in the Police Department,” said Shelby Township Police Lt. Jeff Daniel, who worked on the project.

This backup center is necessary in case equipment at the main communications center goes down or a natural disaster strikes. The current backup is operational; however, officials would like the newer equipment installed so that they can mirror the current dispatch center.

The department currently has a new call center that it is using for the main communications of the Police and Fire departments.

The backup center can dispatch all emergency services in the township. Even if there are no disruptions to the main center, Daniel said, the backup center will get some use.

“We will be able to use it for any special events, like the annual township fireworks. It also can be used for any major incidents that may arise.

“Some examples are: a mutual aid dispatch center for Fire Department responses in hazmat or fire incidents (and) an off-site command center for active police incidents involving prolonged activity like long-term investigations, crashes and active assailant incidents. We will also now be able to conduct training in-house with our own dispatch staff at that location without disruption to any services in the main dispatch center,” Daniel said.

He said that the department is happy with the backup center project and that the township’s dispatchers work very hard.

“Having a center that they can use (like) they can use the main center gives us greater confidence in the services we provide. We have been working pretty hard with (Fire) Chief (Jim) Swinkowski to get the backup center functional. There have been some procedural concerns in the past that made any operations longer than a few hours difficult for the dispatchers, officers and fire personnel, and now this should make things much better,” he said.

Daniel said that AT&T is installing the old system into the fire station and that it will increase the safety to the community.

“It moves us to another level, having that additional layer of security,” Daniel said.

Shelby Township Supervisor Rick Stathakis said at the meeting that the township is trying to be prepared in case something unexpected occurs to the other center.

“Our police chief (Robert Shelide) is proactive, and this agenda item is further evidence of that. This will keep our 911 center operational in the event that the other one fails. Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski is proactive at managing this (the system) and 911,” said Stathakis.

Deputy Police Chief Mark Coil said that the department has been working on being able to have a backup center for more than a year.

“When complete, it will allow us to dispatch police, fire and EMS services. This center will provide our staff with the ability to continue to provide vital emergency service in the event that something should occur to our primary dispatch center.

“The facility is operational; however, completion is expected in late spring of 2019,” Coil said in an email.