Friday, June 5, 2020     Volume: 21, Issue: 14

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 15th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 11

Santa Barbara County update on dispatch center


Almost two years after receiving a report on ways to improve its emergency dispatch services, Santa Barbara County is still narrowing down which option to pursue.

At a county Board of Supervisors meeting on May 7, supervisors directed staff to report back to the board on the cost and staffing analysis for two different options that would create a separate location for fire and emergency medical services (EMS) dispatch. Currently, all county dispatch services are run by the Sheriff’s Office.

The May 7 meeting was a follow-up to the county’s Aug. 28, 2018, discussion on the subject. During the August meeting, supervisors voted to pursue separating fire and EMS dispatch to satisfy concerns both agencies have raised about the Sheriff’s Office running all dispatch services. Supervisors also supported this measure because it could help create a borderless dispatch with agencies throughout the county.

“The only way we get to borderless dispatch is with all of our sister jurisdictions, and they have weighed in that their preferred option is that we have two separate [dispatches],” 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino said at the May 7 meeting.

During the meeting, Assistant County Executive Officer Bernard Melekian reported on the feasibility of moving fire and EMS dispatch services to Santa Maria’s police station. The city moved into a new facility in 2015 that houses its dispatch center and has space to facilitate the county’s operations.

According to Melekian’s presentation, there are several challenges to the county moving into Santa Maria’s facility. The most significant hurdle is that the city and county use different computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, which could cause communication problems.

With the Santa Maria option not feasible, Melekian presented supervisors with other locations that the county could examine further. He said the county could expand its emergency operations center or build a new facility adjacent to the existing facility.

Supervisors directed county staff to look into both options and present its findings to supervisors in 60 to 90 days. Supervisors also directed county staff to look into the feasibility of building a new facility to house the dispatch services.

Fourth District Supervisor Peter Adam said if the county is going to build a separate dispatch center, he would like to see it located in the north part of the county.

“The redundancy here isn’t accomplished by putting it in the same place as everything else,” Adam said.

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