Ocean County Press Release
County Updates Emergency 911 Center

TOMS RIVER – Ocean County's emergency dispatching 911 operations is getting a new home with room to meet future needs of the County and state-of-the-art equipment.

"Our population has grown substantially here in Ocean County," said Ocean County Freeholder Director John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "It is time to update and enhance the operations of this vital service."

The current 911 dispatching center has been moved to an existing warehouse on Chestnut Street, here, which the county had used to store its voting machines. Those machines were moved to a warehouse in Lakewood. Work began on the expansion project in late 2012.

"This will provide over 16,000 square feet for a new enlarged 911 center," Kelly said.

The expanded call center has the capacity to include 18 state-of-the-art police and fire dispatch stations and eight call taker stations for a total of 26 stations, an increase from the 12 dispatch consoles and six call taker stations currently there.

"We are building this with an eye toward more population growth," Kelly said. "Under this plan we have the ability to further expand by at least 25 percent. This operation which is currently overseen by the Ocean County Sheriff's Department, under the leadership of Acting Sheriff William Sommeling, dispatches for 40 fire departments, 32 emergency first aid squads and 12 police agencies in the county.

"These numbers have increased over the years," Kelly said. "This expansion, if need be, allows us to serve additional municipalities should they request to join the county's program."

Ocean County has answered more than 82,000 911 calls so far this year, not including officer dispatched and department calls.

However, Kelly said those numbers surge during times of emergencies like Superstorm Sandy and also during the summer months.

During the time span from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, 2012, dispatchers handled more than 17,000 calls.

"Over the course of seven days, the dispatchers handled as many calls as they would in a month," Kelly said.

Kelly noted the County will also upgrade its radio communications to 700 MHz from 500, meeting Homeland Security requirements.

"This also will help in substantially reducing any sort of interference our emergency responders may be experiencing as they answer emergency calls," Kelly said.

The expanded facility also includes training rooms for staff and dispatchers. In addition, the roof and other parts of the structure have been upgraded to withstand hurricane force winds.

There will also be back up generators in order to assure residents emergency calls will continue to be answered during hurricanes or natural disasters of any kind.

"I appreciate the assistance Freeholder Director Kelly and the Board of Freeholders have provided to the sheriff's department in this undertaking," Sommeling said. "We are all working together to make certain this service is the best it can be."

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