CRESTVIEW — The Police Department’s communications center is about to make another move, rejoining the rest of the department in the Whitehurst Municipal Building.
Police Chief Tony Taylor estimated the move will cost $43,192, which is almost $12,000 less than the budgeted amount.
Some savings were realized by Okaloosa County’s agreement to cover the $2,200 cost of moving equipment from the P.J. Adams location 5.5 miles north to police headquarters in the Whitehurst Municipal Building.
The City Council unanimously approved signing a revised memorandum of understanding with the county covering the cost of the move and maintenance of 911 fiber optic lines and switches.
At the same time as the projected August move, the county will perform federally mandated upgrades to the police department’s 911 software, Taylor said.
Move to P.J. Adams
The police communications center was separated from the facility shared with the Crestview Fire Department dispatch center on Woodruff Avenue and moved to the P.J. Adams facility in January 2012 at a cost of $34,000.
The P.J. Adams site is the former Okaloosa County 911 center that reverted to city ownership when the new Emergency Operations Center opened at Northwest Florida State College.
In a report to the City Council presented Monday evening, Taylor stated moving the communications center to police headquarters will allow the department to be open 24 hours a day.
“A police department is a safe haven for citizens to come in time of crisis,” Taylor stated. “Unfortunately, times of crisis do not adhere to a convenient schedule commensurate with ‘normal business hours.’”
Having the communications center on-site at police headquarters will also enhance security for information systems and records, Taylor stated, and will offer better supervision of the center’s staff.
Taylor said that combining police and fire communications centers into one service was briefly considered, but given the differences in the departments’ respective protocols and operational procedures, it was not feasible.
“It was previously done and it failed miserably,” Taylor stated.
However, during the five-day move at the end of August, the fire department will temporarily host the police dispatch center again.
"There will be no interruption of service whatsoever," Taylor said.