Sheriff's Office to Expand Dispatch Services
Continuing efforts to streamline police, fire and rescue dispatching services in Volusia County will take another leap forward when the Sheriff’s Office assumes operation of the Emergency Communications Center on Oct. 1. Paving the way for the transition, the Volusia County Council has approved contracts for the Sheriff’s Office to take over dispatch duties for EVAC ambulance as well as fire calls in Holly Hill and DeLand. As part of the transition, the Sheriff’s Office also will assume dispatch duties for Volusia County Fire Services, which includes all of unincorporated Volusia and fire calls in the cities of Lake Helen, Pierson and Oak Hill.
The moves continue a major expansion of the public safety dispatching services provided by the Sheriff’s Office as a way to improve the efficiency and coordination of emergency responses in Volusia County. Under discussion for years, the expansion picked up steam in 2002 in the wake of studies that concluded that centralizing public safety dispatch services would result in more efficient emergency response and better coordination of resources. Under the combined system, critical information is rapidly shared with all responding agencies, thereby avoiding the need to routinely transfer 911 calls from agency to agency.
In addition to dispatching deputies to calls for service, the Sheriff’s Office already has contracts to provide dispatch services out of its state-of-the-art Communications Center on Keyton Drive in Daytona Beach for Lake Helen Police, Oak Hill Police, Orange City police, South Daytona police, DeLand police, Holly Hill police, Daytona Beach police and fire, Daytona Beach Shores police and fire and county Beach Services. The Sheriff’s Office also provides full-service police protection to the cities of Deltona, DeBary and Pierson.
The Emergency Communications Center, or ECC, and its approximately 35 employees operate out of EVAC’s home base on Carswell Avenue in Holly Hill, dispatching ambulance services and fire calls for Volusia County Fire Services, the Holly Hill Fire Department and the DeLand Fire Department. EVAC ambulance turned over the dispatch portion of its operation to county government in 2003, and responsibility for running the dispatch service was given to Volusia County Emergency Management. However, the county’s long-terms plans called for the consolidation of the service under the Sheriff’s Office. And on Oct. 1, that transition will be complete. In order to pave the way for the change, the County Council approved one-year extensions of the service contracts last week for dispatching fire calls in Holly Hill and DeLand. And on Thursday afternoon, the County Council unanimously approved a similar, one-year extension of the dispatch contract with EVAC ambulance, which marked the last step in preparing for the Oct. 1 transition.
ECC employees will continue to work out of the Carswell Avenue site. However, the county has long-term plans to build a new Emergency Operations Center that will include a dispatch facility large enough to house all of the Sheriff’s Office’s communications services. The county already has set aside funds to begin the preliminary design of the building. A timetable for construction hasn’t been set.
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