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May 20, 2004 2:27 pm

Deland PD Contracts with Sheriff's Office For Dispatch

Ongoing efforts to streamline public safety communications in Volusia County took another step forward with Thursday’s final approval of an agreement for the Sheriff’s Office to provide dispatch services to the DeLand Police Department. Under a multi-year contract approved by the County Council, the transfer of dispatch duties to the Sheriff’s Office will take place on Oct. 1. The move will help streamline services and save DeLand taxpayers more than $100,000. The city approved the contract earlier this week. “We’re real happy we’ve worked out an agreement with DeLand,” Sheriff Ben Johnson told the County Council moments before Thursday’s unanimous vote. “We’re real excited about it.” 

DeLand becomes the fifth city in the county to contract with the Sheriff’s Office for police dispatch services. The others are Lake Helen, Orange City, Oak Hill and South Daytona. The Sheriff’s Office also dispatches for the county’s Beach Services and is in discussions with several other cities that are considering contract proposals. Sheriff Johnson has been a major proponent of a centralized dispatch service as a way to reduce government redundancy and service fragmentation, save tax dollars and improve communications during public safety calls that often cross jurisdictional boundaries and involve responses from multiple agencies. 

Studies have concluded that consolidating public safety communications will improve interagency coordination and result in a more efficient response to emergency calls. County Council Chair Dwight Lewis noted that inquiries are revealing communications problems that plagued the country’s response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “That’s what we’re trying to solve in this county – to try to get our communications under one roof where we don’t have those problems…,” noted Lewis. 

Under Thursday’s agreement, DeLand will pay $296,643 for dispatch services for the first year of the contract. The initial contract is for two years, with provisions for automatic three-year renewals as long as both sides are satisfied. The Sheriff’s Office will create 18 new positions at its Communications Center and will offer jobs to DeLand dispatchers provided they successfully complete the county’s hiring process. The new positions will take effect on Sept. 1 to give employees a month to prepare for the transition.

Volusia County Sheriff's Office

Administrative offices: West Volusia 386-736-5961 Daytona Beach 386-254-4689 New Smyrna Beach 386-423-3352

Non-emergency dispatch numbers: DeLand 386-943-8276 Daytona Beach 386-239-8276 New Smyrna Beach 386-409-8276 Osteen 407-323-0151

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