New 911 center could reduce call times in Ascension Parish
GONZALES- A multi-million dollar state-of-the-art 911 call center is set to open this year in Ascension Parish as the parish continues to see rapid growth.
Last year, 911 dispatchers fielded 200,000 non-emergency calls and 50,000 emergency calls. Currently, dispatchers are working in congested and claustrophobic conditions. The recent growth has parish leaders feeling the growing pains.
Right now, there are seven dispatchers on duty during peak times. When the new state-of-the-art 911 dispatch center opens, three additional dispatchers will be hired during peak times.
"The people who are calling us don't want to wait five rings, and they shouldn't have to," Sheriff Jeff Wiley said.
The new facility will have room to increase the amount of dispatchers to 14. Currently, they are separated in rooms and can't communicate if there's an emergency. The new 911 center will have everyone in one room. All will be able to monitor breaking emergency situations and traffic cameras.
"We want a maximum three-ring 911 call," Wiley said.
In addition to housing a brand new 911 center, some deputies will also have a new place to work next to where the dispatchers will be housed.
"Also addressing the growth issue, is our substation," Wiley said. "It's going to be a full service substation, which will have full space for those divisions that have been impaired because of limited space. Patrol operations will be here."
The sheriff hopes these proactive measures will keep his citizens protected as the parish continues to grow.
The center costs about $5.5 million. The majority of that is being paid for out of the sheriff's general fund which is taxpayer money. The state put up about $250,000 as well.