BARSTOW • Dispatch services for the Barstow Police Department and Fire Protection District will finally merge operations on Monday.
The joint effort was approved by the City Council and Fire Protection District Board in June 2012, with representatives of both departments working to combine the operations since then, a city news release said.
"We are extremely pleased with the merger as we set out to decrease response times, lower operating costs and improve the level of communication between the two departments," said Fire Chief Richard Ross in the release. "The dispatchers' knowledge of the area combined with the additional details we will receive in the field will be invaluable to the Fire Department as first responders in an emergency."
Once in place, the fire district will no longer be dispatched by the San Bernardino County Communications Center.
"The City Council's decision to consolidate dispatching units will increase the level of communication between both public safety departments during critical emergencies," Police Chief Albert Ramirez said. "We welcome the opportunity to continue to strengthen the relationship we have with the fire department, and the heightened level of communication that will result from this decision as we work together to solve issues during critical events."
The police department will be the primary point of contact to handle emergency calls with two dispatchers on duty at all times, according to the release. The merger will also result in common communication frequencies for both units, reduced dispatch overtime costs and long-term expenses to the city.
"As a former public safety employee, I fully recognize the benefits of this merger," Council Member Rich Harpole said. "The combined dispatch operations will provide improved services for the community, and increase firefighter and police officer safety though improved inter-agency communications."