The Sheriff’s Voice: Your State of the Art Emergency Operations Center

Sheriff’s Communications Division

Rockland County Sheriff Emergency Dispatch Center

Rockland County Sheriff at the Emergency Dispatch Center

Sheriff Louis Falco III

Dear Rockland County Neighbors:

I would like to thank the editorial staff at the Rockland Voice for the opportunity to inform our community about the important services provided by the dedicated men and women working for you at the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department.

In this column, permit me to tell you about your Sheriff’s Communications Division.

As the primary communications center for the County of Rockland, the Communications Division of the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department maintains crucial communication between County agencies, County employees, first responders, and the general public. 

The Division consist of 25 full-time and 3 part-time employees.  This highly trained team are critical to advancing public safety through the dispatch and coordination of County resources on a minute to minute basis.  They are in effect the central nervous system for government communication services.

The timely and professional delivery of these communication services empowers the Division to contribute to the safety and security of both Rockland County and the surrounding Hudson Valley region.

WE KEEP PACE WITH GROWTH AND TECHNOLOGY

In 2005, the Communications Division assumed sole responsibility for the receipt of cellular E-911 calls in Rockland County. The exponential growth of cellular telephone calls places a strain on emergency call-takers during large-scale or high-visibility emergencies, such as highway crashes, building fires, and events that occur in public venues such as shopping malls and parks.

In 2014, the Communications Division answered approximately 90,000 E-911 calls and  implemented automated call distribution (ACD), wherein a computer assigns calls to call-takers and helps ensure efficient processing of E-911 calls.

The Communications Division is currently in the process of testing a text to 911 solution to be released to the public later this year. In addition, the Communications Division also acts as the backup Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the town and village police departments, who have the primary responsibility for answering traditional landline 911 calls.

In 2014, the Communications Division formally moved into its new Emergency Communications Center (ECC). The facility’s design is based on research into the latest trends in emergency communications. The ECC can accommodate up to fourteen Radio Operators, along with one supervisory platform, several administrative offices, and a training room. The County’s previous facility accommodated no more than four Operators, with some overflow housed in a temporary trailer. The new center is the result of several years of planning and construction.

WE BETTER MANAGED USE OF EXISTING SPACE, NEW TECHNOLOGY, AND CURRENT MANPOWER

The new ECC also houses the central electronics for the County’s new Public Safety Communications System, which provides radio communications to all police fire and emergency medical personnel in Rockland County.  In late 2013, final roll-out of the County’s much-anticipated interoperable radio system began. The system is primarily based on the latest Motorola TDMA trunking technology. Rockland County is one of only a few agencies in the United States operating on this cutting-edge technology.

An entirely separate downsized backup communications center is planned for 2015, for the mission critical resiliency necessary to provide emergency communications service to the residents of Rockland County.

The Sheriff’s Communications Division is the sole dispatch center for Rockland County’s twenty-six volunteer fire departments, along with the County’s hazardous materials (HAZMAT) team, the Rockland County Regional Technical Rescue Team (RRTRT), Fire Police, and Fire Safety Officers.

In accordance with local law, 130 alarm companies maintain 3,737 automatic fire alarms that transmit signals directly to the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) for emergency fire dispatch. Dozens of other alarm companies report residential alarms and fires via telephone.

The Emergency Communications Center (ECC) provides centralized radio and electronic data services to the County’s local police departments and the Sheriff’s Police Division. Coordination is primarily performed on the County-wide police radio talkgroup for large-scale or multi-jurisdictional events. State-wide and Federal frequencies are also available for large scale regional emergencies.

The ECC provides electronic law enforcement data, such as driver license, vehicle registration, and warrant checks, to five local police agencies, the Sheriff’s Police Division, the New York State Police and a host of affiliated agencies in Orange and Bergen Counties, as well as State and Federal agencies. The Division manages an estimated 10,000 paper records on wanted persons and criminal investigations.

WE ARE VIGILANT FOR THE DISASTER OR EMERGENCY THAT CAN STRIKE AT ANY TIME

Additionally, the Communications Division serves as the initial contact point for all emergency operations at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan. During an emergency at the power plant, the Communications Division is responsible for notifying County personnel of the matter. The Emergency Communications Center is designated the “Rockland Warning Point” in the Radiological Emergency Communications System (RECS).

If the nuclear event is classified as a high-priority emergency, the ECC would sound the Alert Notification System (ANS) in the County. These are the “Indian Point sirens” well-known by residents. The ECC regularly participates in simulations and drills to test readiness of personnel and equipment for potential emergencies involving Indian Point.

WE WORK FOR YOU – CONNECT WITH US

For additional information about the Sheriff’s Office or the Communications Division,  visit us at our social media sites; Facebook page “Rockland County Sheriff’s Office” , Twitter account; @RocklandSheriff and website;

http://www.rocklandcountysheriffoffice.com/

You can also load the free “MobilePatrol” APP on your smartphone for a one stop resource for all Rockland County Sheriff’s Office information (inmates, news, alerts, sex offenders, etc.).

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