KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo County Consolidated Dispatch Authority is open for business.
The $4 million dispatch center, which has been in the works for years, went online Tuesday. It will serve the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Western Michigan University's Department of Public Safety, the Portage Department of Public Safety and Kalamazoo Township Police and Fire.
“It’ll help the dispatch center to track people better, to get the right information quicker and make dispatches faster,” Kalamazoo County Fire Chiefs Association President Mark Barnes, also the fire chief for Oshtemo Township, said.
Each of the five communities utilizing the consolidated dispatch pitched in to pay for it after voters last year rejected a 911 surcharge that wound have funded it.
The system didn’t come without some controversy. After Charles Pickett Jr. drove a pickup truck into a group of bicyclists in 2016, killing five people, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a report that concluded, “…the collision might have been prevented had the dispatchers … more effectively shared their 911 call information concerning the erratic” driver “as the events unfolded."