After year-long study, experts suggest consolidating Madison Co.’s 911 services with Onondaga Co.

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CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — The consultants behind a year-long study into consolidating Madison County’s 911 services with Onondaga County’s have finished their report and are advising county leaders to go ahead with the plan. 

The change wouldn’t happen overnight. The state-funded consultants, Winbourne Consulting, suggest slowly consolidating the centers in phases, with a full merger being achieved in two-to-four years.

First, the experts suggest immediate changes to Madison County’s 911 Center needed “today or tomorrow.” Those recommendations include a stronger and updated policy manual, better communication between 911 dispatchers and first responders, implementing a quality assurance program and hiring an assistant director.

The next phase would include Madison County’s 911 Center remaining physically separate from Onondaga County’s, but sharing a high-bandwidth computer network. The centers would also share computerized dispatch systems.

Eventually, the consolation would put all call takers and dispatchers under one roof, in Onondaga County. Benefits touted by the consultants include the integrated computer systems, first responders in Madison County having better communication with dispatchers, who are currently the same people as the call takers, utilizing Onondaga County’s enhanced policies and procedures already used, and better first response service along the shared border of the counties.

The merger is still a concept only. The Madison County Board of Supervisors will discuss the plan to consider its next steps.

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For more local news, follow Andrew Donovan on Twitter @AndrewDonovan

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