FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Broward County’s top cop and commissioners held an emergency discussion to try and figure out the best way to improve the county’s 911 response system.
For years Broward County has struggled with its 911 system.
Currently, the Broward Sheriff’s Office runs the system. However, the county manages the money and infrastructure.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Gregory Tony addressed a report that the county paid more than $100,000 to pinpoint the issues.
“Thus comes down to what we have already said before: technology, infrastructure, staffing protocols and transition to power. As to whether or not we are going to do that, that is your decision to make,” said Tony.
At the commission meeting Tony reiterated the importance of managing the 911 calls systems in its entirety.
“We are the professionals and the end users that know this system inside and out, and we don’t have to pay someone to tell us in a report how to do it,” said Tony. “We don’t have to meet with 10 elected officials and two administrators before we can move swiftly.”
The Broward County Firefighters Association agreed.
“We want soul source. If something happens, the Sheriff’s willing to take that responsibility now, and that’s something, as your first responders know out there, we want to make sure that we are able to provide the best level of services we can,” said Scott Baybe, of the Broward County Firefighters Association, “and right now, under this system, we are not able to do that.”
However, most commissioners seemed reluctant.
“As long as we give you everything you need, to me, it doesn’t matter whether you own it or operate,” said Commissioner Mark Bogen.
It was even offered to bring a third party to take over the system.
“A 911 system, we need a professionally trained person who has been out there for decades doing it with excellent service to bring in,” said Bogen, “because we’re talking life and death.”
“To make a statement that we don’t have experts that is managing operations in this organization is an insult,” said Tony.
Among the issues that were stated in the report: dispatchers are taking too long to report, process dispatch calls, and staff vacancy, which BSO said county money that was given months back has resolved.
“In addition to that, we just went from a 38% vacancy down to 11%, and we have done that from the time you stamped and sent us extra money,” said Tony. “All right, so we’re on a good path.”
However, Coral Springs’ 911 call center system and the county still can’t communicate.
The county said they are one step closer to getting the technology that can make that happen.
Everyone had agreed that by Feb. 14, 2023 to have more answers, which will be the five-year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting.
“I just want to publicly say if we can get this done, we’ll get it done,” said Bogen.
Motorola is creating technology that is supposed to marry the Coral Springs 911 call system to Broward County’s system.
It is unclear — if and when this technology is done — if it will work.
Officials will have to test out the systems before it goes live and hope that is doesn’t affect the other county’s 911 systems.
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