Police dispatch center gets an overhaul

A complete revamp of the Shelton Police Department’s dispatch center has brought the 911 call center up-to-date and will benefit all city emergency services, according to Chief Joel Hurliman.

The communications dispatch center, located at police headquarters on Wheeler Street, had been operating in the basement for the last four weeks while the dispatch room was re-done, top to bottom, to be more efficient. Work just finished up last week.

A lot of the communications equipment was out of date and if something broke it was difficult to find a compatible piece of equipment to repair it.

“It’s easy for the dispatchers because everything is up-to-date and computer-based,” Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said.

The new technology makes it easier for dispatchers to “cross-patch” between fire, EMS and police calls. The dispatch center is responsible for dispatching all police and fire department calls and transferring EMS calls.

Other than the technological upgrades, the entire room was gutted and redone, with new sheet-rock, fresh coat of paint and new furniture. Lt. Kozlowsky and Chief Hurliman agreed it was a necessary upgrade.

The project cost around $200,000, and was grant money with city matching some of it, Chief Joel Hurliman said.

In the old dispatch room a lot of equipment was stored on the floor, taking up space and getting in the way.

“We had people stubbing their feet on wires on the floor,” Hurliman said.

But the upgrades have changed all that and now the dispatch supervisor will his own phone station.

“Before the supervisor would have to lean over a dispatcher if a call came in for him,” Hurliman said.

The upgrades included added a new uninterrupted power supply system which will supply the building with emergency power. The dispatch center did lose power and some equipment use briefly during big storms, like Tropical Storm Irene.