By Hank McCoy
After several years of working on an agreement, Coconut Creek will become part of Coral Springs Police and Fire Department dispatch services.
On July 15, city commissioners approved the Coral Springs/Coconut Creek Interlocal Agreement for 911 dispatch services. The vote came 4 – 1 with Commissioner Larry Vignola being the sole member to vote against the agreement to have Coral Springs dispatch take over Coconut Creek.
When Broward County Commissioners approved the consolidation of dispatch services for 911 calls to go through the county back in 2014, Coral Springs and its residents opted out of the regional 911 system that was approved. Vignola explained that the residents of Coral Springs pay about $2 million more a year to keep the current system and not fold it into the regional option.
“Our system is the standard that everyone is trying to reach for. I’m just afraid by growing it, we might slip up a bit — for me personally, I don’t wanna see that happen,” Vignola said.
Vignola explained that although there is the fear of the state forcing the city to use the regional system, due to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas the city has a lot of connections in Tallahassee as a result, and he’s confident that Coral Springs wouldn’t be pushed into the system because of the high standard that Coral Springs’ dispatch system holds.
City Manager Frank Babinec explained how Parkland’s Fire Department joining the Coral Springs Fire Department enhanced the Coral Springs Fire Department and vice versa. Today they operate as the Coral Springs/Parkland Fire Department without boundaries.
“From a contract standpoint it wasn’t the smoothest thing in the world…the first couple contracts were a little bumpy…but on the operational side it was a benefit to the city of coral springs,” Babinec said.
All costs associated with infrastructure needed to bring Coconut Creek fire and police dispatch into the Coral Springs system would be paid upfront by the city of Coconut Creek. If the city of Coconut Creek chooses to pull out during the process, any monies they have paid towards start-up costs will not be refunded.
“Ultimately we could be forced into a system that we don’t want to participate in,” Vice Mayor Joy Carter said, “So to form our own little regional corridor is proactive and as far as training, that’s where we’re good — we are really good at training.”
The Coral Springs dispatch system, also known as Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, earned accreditation with excellence in 2013 and 2016. You can read the full presentation for the process that will occur to bring Coconut Creek dispatch under the city of Coral Springs here.
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- Hank McCoy is a writer and journalist covering music, politics, and culture on his blog Hank’s Luncheonette, as well as currently working on publishing his first novel. Hank grew up in Parkland and graduated from FAU before moving to Chicago where he worked in the music industry as an artist and talent booker when he wasn’t throwing people out of punk bars. Hank recently moved back to South Florida after living overseas in Berlin while he traveled to Europe.
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