St. Louis City plans to add $42 million facility for 911 dispatch
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - To tackle 911 problems that have long plagued St. Louis, the city is moving closer to a plan to consolidate police, fire and EMS dispatch in one place.
“Our 911 system is a bottleneck where police dispatch answers all the calls and basically triages to police, EMS or fire,” explained Nick Desideri, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.
The planned fix has long been discussed. A Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) would be one facility where all the dispatch would operate.
According to the St. Louis City Mayor’s office, “The new center will provide call-taking and dispatching services for St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Louis Fire Department, including Emergency Medical Services. Dispatchers within the facility will evaluate emergency and non-emergency calls and determine the appropriate level of response for each call, enhancing service and experience for citizens and first respondents, even in extreme conditions.”
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson has worked to make this a reality for years. The plan would place the $42 million facility next door to the fire department’s headquarters located at Jefferson and Cass. It would be across from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site currently under construction.
“It’s the brain and the heart of the response,” explained Jenkerson. He said the process will take time as the structure must be secure against all kinds of disasters and emergencies with the ability to add on for future growth.
Chief Jenkerson says the hold up for more than a decade has been funding.
Board Bill 120 from Alderman Brandon Bosley allocates $15 million for the PSAP along with an additional $1 million for 911 software.
The Mayor’s spokesperson explained a temporary consolidation is still in the works. The technology needed to consolidate the dispatches is tough to acquire due to supply chain issues and they are currently working on staffing and training dispatchers.
The funds in Board Bill 120 come from the American Rescue Plan Act. The bill also allocates funds for roads, street safety initiatives and digital equity.
Desideri could not provide specifics about how the $15 million for the building would initially be spent. The project is in the early stages and is expected to be completed in 2026.
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