The City of Los Angeles is excited about the new high tech, state-of-the-art Metropolitan Communications Dispatch Center, which became fully operational as of January 2003. The City has constructed two new identical 9-1-1 Dispatch Centers in the San Fernando Valley and Metropolitan area of the City. Under normal conditions, both centers will operate concurrently with identical functional capabilities, each processing a geographically defined portion of the City’s call-taking workload. The project was funded with special bonds approved by the voters in November 1992, and was the final element of a major program to replace, upgrade and enhance the City’s massive emergency communications system.
The Metropolitan Dispatch Center was constructed adjacent to the current Police Department Headquarters (Parker Center) in the civic center. The Valley Dispatch Center was constructed in West Hills, near Roscoe Boulevard and Fallbrook Avenue. Daniel, Mann, Johnson and Mendenhall (DMJM), a Los Angeles firm experienced in engineering similar facilities, designed the buildings. The firm is a subcontractor to TRW Inc., the Department’s systems integrator for the emergency communications system enhancement program.
Various building feature were programmed to ensure performance before, during and after a major disaster, including an earthquake of magnitude 8.3. The structural design includes a “base isolation” system to protect the building and its contents from ground motion generated by an earthquake. The critical building systems (water, power, mechanical, communications) are all supported by back-up systems. The building can function independently for a 72-hour period. But, the primary objective of the project was to design a pleasant and stress-reducing work environment for the Police Service Representatives (PSRs).
To provide a stress-reducing work environment for the PSRs (9-1-1 dispatchers) special consideration was given with regards to noise control, natural lighting sources, spacious work area and high vaulted ceilings. Each console (work area) has 4 flat panel computer screens with a mouse, individual air/heat control and additional lighting options. The PSR/ 9-1-1 dispatcher has the ability to work while sitting or standing. The computer panels can be tilted forward or backward to allow full visual range of the screens.
The two centers will employ the latest forms of internet and wide-area network technology to pool their call-taking resources automatically, affording Los Angeles citizens a significantly more responsive and reliable 9-1-1 service, particularly during busy hours (evenings, weekends and major holidays). The facilities, which are being constructed to last fifty years, will more then double the Department’s current capacity to handle emergency calls for service.
The center is home of the largest Division of the Los Angeles Police Department consisting of a Captain III, 4 Lieutenant II, 3 Sergeant II, 7 Senior Police Service Representatives II (PSR), 37 Senior PSR I, and 476 PSRs.