PULASKI COUNTY, Ark. – Pulaski County and the city of Jacksonville are planning to combine efforts for what officials are calling a better response to 911 calls.
The county and the city announced Tuesday that they have begun the process of combining 911 call centers into one location in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville center will be used for emergency dispatch for both the city and rural Pulaski County, although during the initial phase no Pulaski County center will close.
The formal name for the call centers is Public Safety Answering Points, often referred to as PSAPs.
County officials said the plans are to consolidate seven of these call centers down to three by Jan. 1, 2025. The change comes after the Arkansas Public Safety Act of 2109 made comprehensive changes to the state’s 911 structure, including requiring counties with multiple PSAPs to consolidate.
The consolidation is in its beginning stages. The next step will be for the county and Jacksonville to develop and sign a memorandum of agreement establishing expectations. The agreement is expected to be in place “in a few weeks,” according to a county spokesperson.
The Jacksonville PSAP is in a secure facility with a $2.5 million radio system inside a tornado-safe room, which officials called “state-of-the-art.” The center is part of the Arkansas Wireless Information Network, which enables first responders to have radio contact with PSAPs across the state.
Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde and Jacksonville Mayor Jeff Elmore spoke about the common sense of combining operations.
“Public safety is always a top priority, so we’re excited to take these imperative steps with Jacksonville to ensure a faster, streamlined communication process with our citizens,” Hyde said.
“The City of Jacksonville and 911 Dispatch are thrilled to be partnering with the County,” Elmore said. “We have the facilities, the space. It just makes sense.”
Pulaski County currently has six PSAPs operating, beginning with the county center, along with locations in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Sherwood, Maumelle and Jacksonville. The plan is to consolidate the county and Jacksonville PSAPs and combine Sherwood and Maumelle with North Little Rock prior to the 2025 deadline. The Little Rock PSAP will remain in place, a county spokesperson said.