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No More Dropped 911 Calls in Land O’ Lakes?

Pasco County Commissioners voted unanimously March 5 to approve a merger between the sheriff’s office and fire rescue’s dispatch centers.

The days of picking up the phone in Land O’ Lakes to call 911 with a police emergency and ending up having to explain the situation twice are almost over.

Pasco County Commissioners voted unanimously March 5 to approve a merger of the fire rescue and sheriff’s office emergency dispatch operations, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The merger has long been discussed, but was never acted upon in earnest until Tuesday’s meeting.

Under the current 911 system, calls are routed in through fire rescue. If a person happens to have a police emergency, that call then goes to the sheriff’s office through a transfer.

That system worked, but it had its share of problems, officials say. Dropped calls were cited as one of the top concerns. Between January and July 2012, there were about 290 calls that dropped, the Times reported.

The merger will go into effect when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Right now the county is saying there won’t be any layoffs and it’s unclear if Pasco’s municipalities, including New Port Richey, will join the merger.

Sheriff Chris Nocco says the move is a life-saving measure. His agency has adopted a number of streamlining efforts since he took office, including merging the SWAT team, instituting Intelligence Led Policing and most recently his bid to handle parole services in-house.

Have you ever had to call 911 for a police emergency? Were you frustrated by the transfer or was your call dropped? Do you think the merger is needed? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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