Susquehanna County awarded $500k for new 911 center

Officials in Susquehanna County say their 911 Call Center needs a major overhaul.

This week the county was awarded$500,000 from the state to help build a new one.

Bruce Butler, Director of Public Safety, says there's not enough space in the current building for employees to handle emergency situations efficiently.

"We don't complain. We deal with it," Butler said.

He's worked out of the building, housed in a former supermarket basement, for years.

"The space is not near big enough nor accommodating enough for us to do the different things that are needed in a public safety venue."

County Officials are planning to build a new state of the art 911 Call Center and Emergency Management Office.

Representatives for State Senator Lisa Baker say a 2013 feasibility study found many problems with the current building. Those problems include "a lack of cohesiveness between 911 and emergency services, a shortage of dispatch stations, zero capacity for extended emergencies, and insufficient communications capabilities."

"It does create a communications nightmare for groups that have to be talking to each other as well as we lose a lot of prep time," Commissioner Alan Hall said.

"We need to make sure that our 911 Center, our EOC is in a position where it can provide immediate assistance so that lives can be saved."

According to Hall, the $500,000 grant from the state will only cover a small portion of the new building's costs.

It's expected to cost close to $10 million.

Plans call for the building to open next spring and it's set to be built next to the State Police Gibson Barracks.

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