Local town fighting to keep responsibility of its 911 dispatch center

EAST GREENBUSH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – We all know how important it is to get a fast response when you’re in an emergency.  That’s why one local town is fighting to keep as many local calls as possible coming through its 911 call center.

At Wednesday’s town hall meeting, emergency responders will sign a covenant telling the county they want to keep responsibility of its 911 dispatch center.

The county says there’s only so much it can do with the available technology.

It takes an average of under four minutes for emergency responders in East Greenbush to get to a call.

“They were there like that.”

Kathy Miller is living proof.  She had a heart attack nearly six years ago and says she knew she was dying.

“They got here very quickly and they basically saved my life.”

That’s why town supervisor Jack Conway says it’s crucial for the town to keep calls coming through this dispatch center.

“The most essential service we deliver is public health and safety.”

He says the town only receives land line calls, not cell phone calls because those go to the county dispatch.

Police Chief Chris Lavin says his team is fast and their knowledge of the area saves lives.

“No one else can provide these services. No one else is doing what we’re doing. Anyone who says they are is wrong.”

County officials say the technology doesn’t exist to accurately reroute cell calls and it would actually slow down the response time.

“We have two dispatch centers ours and East Greenbush trying to figure out where someone is calling from.”

In fact, the county is allocating nearly $800,000 of its $20 million project to East Greenbush for upgrades to the dispatch center.

Miller says she hope the calls can remain local so there aren’t any delays for people in an emergency situation.

“They just need help then. They don’t need it four minutes from now or five minutes from now, they need it right away.”

The county and the town have a meeting scheduled for Monday where they will go over the concerns in this letter and anything else that may come up.

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