Sarpy County is hiring a consultant to review its 911 dispatching.
The county recently closed a request for proposals to examine operations at its call center, which employs 32 dispatchers and takes about 50,000 emergency calls per year. Four companies submitted bids.
Among other things, the review will address the feasibility of merging operations with the Douglas County 911 center, using data from a separate, broader study of creating a regional call or dispatch center.
Sarpy County Administrator Mark Wayne said the new review is not intended to duplicate the work of the other study.
“We're just going to provide that information to the consultant ... and they can look for any glaring information that might be missing,” he said.
The consultant will have more information to work with after a shared services committee meets next month to review the financial implications of a merger, he said.
A World-Herald analysis in May found that Sarpy County routinely takes longer to dispatch calls than the national standards. County officials, however, say changes were already in the works.
Consolidation, if it does happen, is years away, County Board Chairman Jim Warren said. If nothing else, a consultant can provide some short-term guidance, he said.
“If it doesn't (happen), what do we do in the meantime?” he said.
County officials also have been meeting with local fire chiefs to talk about how to improve dispatching. Papillion Fire Chief Bill Bowes said a regional call center makes sense because it better reflects the needs of the metro area and would help standardize dispatching across departments.