In an effort to enhance 9-1-1 call-answer and police dispatch services on Southern Vancouver Island, police agencies in Greater Victoria and the Capital Regional District (CRD) will join forces and operate out of a new shared state-of-the-art post-disaster facility.
The new South Island Dispatch Centre will be the first point of contact for 9-1-1 callers on South Vancouver Island and will also house police call-taking and dispatch for the Victoria, Saanich, Central Saanich and Oak Bay police departments as well as all local RCMP detachments.
“Consolidating South Vancouver Island’s dispatch services into one location will have many advantages,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Not only will it improve coordination between police agencies so they can better respond to large emergencies that cross municipal boundaries, the new dispatch centre will be housed in a purpose-built emergency response and postdisaster building adding to the protection of 9-1-1 services.”
This public safety initiative has been led by the South Island Police Dispatch Steering Committee, composed of police chiefs from Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich, and Victoria, and representatives of the RCMP, the Province of British Columbia, Capital Regional District and E-Comm.
“CRD staff have been working hard with the South Island Police Dispatch Steering Committee to finalize facility planning for this new dispatch centre and we look forward to breaking ground in 2017,” said Barbara Desjardins, CRD Board Chair. “We are confident that this project will improve service to the public, increase officer safety and provide efficiencies for local governments, police and the RCMP.”
Saanich Police Chief Bob Downie, speaking on behalf of the steering committee, noted that this new model has the support of all local law enforcement and that as the largest emergency communications service provider in the province, “E-Comm’s experience and professionalism will only serve to enhance public safety operations in Greater Victoria and the CRD.”
E-Comm President and CEO David Guscott added, “We’re eager to start work on this project and to welcome the region’s existing 9-1-1 call-takers and dispatchers to the E-Comm team. Our goal is to provide residents and officers in Greater Victoria and the CRD with high-quality and effective service. We are proud to be their partners in public safety.”
The new CRD-owned facility will be located at 4219 Commerce Circle in Saanich and is expected to be operational by early 2019. To date, the Province has contributed $100,000 to support this project and the consolidation of 9-1-1 services on Vancouver Island.