A new 911 call center hopes to speed up emergency response times

Posted at 6:19 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 20:19:35-04

LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A new 911 call center just opened its doors in Jefferson County.

The center consolidates dispatchers for eight agencies in the county into one building. It’s called JeffCom911 and it just opened its doors last week.

“It’s a consolidation of the emergency dispatch centers for all of Jefferson County. It includes the law-enforcement and fire operations,” said JeffCom911 Executive Director Jeff Streeter.

Streeter was the chief of police in Lone Tree before he retired in 2016. However, he came out of retirement to lead the center.

The eight different agencies that will have their calls run out of the centralized location are the Golden police and fire departments, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, West Metro Fire District, Arvada police and fire departments and Wheat Ridge Police Department. All these agencies have already begun to run their operations out of JeffCom911.

In the first week of April, Evergreen’s fire department and the Lakewood Police Department will also transition into the call center.

In addition, the call center will support numerous smaller entities with their calls, including the Colorado School of Mines Police Department, Morrison Police Department and Edgewater Police Department, among others.

“We will top out at 23 entities that we provide emergency dispatch services for, for the communities and the first responders,” Streeter said.

However, the phone numbers for those agencies will remain the same and be funneled to the call center. The new call center hopes to save the various agencies some money and increase communication.

“Budgetary (wise) we are going to save money. There’s efficiencies in service, processing times, moving calls and we get better service provided for residents,” Streeter said.

The only difference callers will notice is an operator answering the phone saying "JeffCom911."

“They’re not going to hear Jefferson County Sheriff or Lakewood Police Department or West Metro Fire, that’s really the only change. They’re still going to get the same quality of service and care,” Streeter said.

The other change the community could benefit from is quicker response times, according to Streeter. Before, the calls would have to be transferred to the right agency.

“That creates delays, inherent and delays just in the transfer of that call alone. Right now, we have all of it on one floor,” Streeter said.

Most of the change, however, is happening behind the scenes. The center has spent hundreds of hours training its staff on the new systems. It renovated an entire floor in the West Metro Fire Protection District building and added all new, state-of-the-art technology.

“It’s the newest, best available,” Streeter said.

Once the center is fully operational, there will be 136 full-time employees manning the floor and 148 total JeffCom911 employees. The center is also looking to hire more people.

Additionally, if there’s ever an major emergency event in Jefferson County like the Aurora theater or Columbine shootings, the call center can help coordinate the multi-agency response.

“Should they agency need back up, the backups are right here. We can send them from here without, again, the call transfer or doing some other processes,” Streeter said.

The center expects to handle about 18,000 emergency calls and 50,000 non-emergency calls every month.