The New Westminster Police Department announced Monday that it will be relocating its dispatch operations to E-Comm, the regional emergency communications centre for southwest British Columbia, effective June 4.
New Westminster Police Chief Const. Dave Jones said the move will better position the department to provide the community with quality police service while lowering potential risks and offering increased operational benefits and efficiencies.
"Operationally, the decision to move to E-Comm makes absolute sense for us," Jones said in a press release.
He said the advantages include enhanced cross-communication between agencies in different municipalities, a larger workforce for better staff coverage during major and extended emergency events and access to top-tier technology.
The decision was made following a rigorous evaluation of the department's ability to sustain dispatch over the long run. The review concluded that maintaining the status quo was not sustainable.
Consolidation of many different police services, including dispatch, to gain operational and financial efficiencies is becoming more common within the policing community. One of the benefits of the E-Comm partnership model is that it allows for the cost of technology, training and infrastructure to be shared among police agencies.
"We have committed through our strategic plan to ensure that all sections of the New Westminster Police Department are sustainable and provide the best service delivery possible," said Jones. "The move to E-Comm will provide improved safety for both our officers and the public, greatly enhancing public safety for the City of New Westminster."
"E-Comm is focused on helping to create safer communities in B.C. through excellence in public-safety communication, and we believe that unified dispatch operations are a key element in achieving that vision," said David Guscott, E-Comm president and chief executive officer. "Our goal with this transition is to provide New Westminster police and the residents they serve, with the same high level of service and expertise that our current 30 police and fire department dispatch partners have come to expect."
E-Comm answers almost 1 million 911 calls each year for Metro Vancouver, the Sunshine Coast, Whistler, Squamish and the southern portion of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and provides dispatch services to 30 police and fire departments. E-Comm also owns and operates the regional shared radio system used by police, fire and ambulance personnel in municipalities in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.