Picente: County 911 Center Now Fielding City of Utica Emergency Calls
Noting that Oneida County’s 911 Center today began fielding all 911 calls made from the City of Utica, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr., today called the transition a landmark step in governmental collaboration.
“We in the county have worked diligently and ceaselessly to bring about the consolidation of 911 services because this step is in the best interests of the people of Oneida County, both from the perspective of increased efficiency in our use of taxpayer dollars and in addressing the public safety needs of the people of our county, including the city,” Picente said. “I have made this a priority because it was a project that was often discussed, but never accomplished. Today, we have made this step forward to make consolidation something more then just rhetoric.”
Picente noted that the consolidated Oneida County 911 Center that has expanded in recent years to include New Hartford and now Utica, is able to provide an even better service to all of Oneida County while consolidating three centers into the County 911 system. The consolidation has saved New Hartford over $600,000 thus far, Picente said. The consolidation of Utica into the Center could result in a $1,000,000 annual savings and will put more public safety personnel on the streets.
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said that the transition is a positive step for Utica. “The goal of city government in a time of limited resources is to put every possible police officer on the job of protecting the people of Utica and to support ongoing investigations in every possible way,” Palmieri said. “The county’s willingness to assume the responsibility for 911 dispatching will allow the city of Utica to reallocate some resources that were answering those calls. In addition, the partnership between the city and county that has developed is a good starting point for further discussions about collaboration that may be necessary as my administration looks to the future to build cooperation and best serve the people of the city of Utica.”
Oneida County Director of Emergency Service Kevin Revere noted that Utica Police personnel will be on hand at the County 911 Center during the transition period. “Everyone has worked hard to make this changeover seamless for the people who will be turning to us for help in times of need,” Revere said. “A number of outstanding people here at the county and at the city have worked very hard to make this transition a success. The process is not only good for the people of our county; it has fostered some stronger public safety relationships that can help the city and the county as we go forward in partnership.”
Picente said that the consolidation is an important step for the region. “The changeover provides experienced, expert assistance to Utica residents who need emergency services,” Picente said. “This transition is also an important piece of our overall efforts in a time of limited resources to look at new ways we can deliver vital services but reduce the overall cost to the taxpayers. There was a time when this project could not have been accomplished, but we worked together, we worked as a team, and we worked with the best interests of the people of Oneida County in mind. Because of this work, we are able to move forward today with a unified 911 Center that is both a symbol of regional unity and a project that has produced substantial savings and will produce even more in the years to come.”