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Office of Emergency Management

History

The City of Santa Monica has historically operated separate fire and police communications centers. Both centers have suffered from chronic under-staffing, insufficient supervision and oversight, and poor working conditions which included lack of sufficient breaks, reduced training time, and few professional development opportunities. The separation of the communication centers often delayed cross-service communications and led to incidents of reduced situational awareness, potentially impacting first responder safety. 

In early 2013, the City of Santa Monica began exploring the possibility of combining fire and police communications into a consolidated center in order to provide improved service and safety to the community and first responders, enhance situational awareness, and improve staffing levels and working conditions. Extensive research and analysis was conducted by a multi-disciplinary work group as well as by outside consultants. Based upon this thorough analysis, the City of Santa Monica became determined to create a consolidated public safety dispatch center, combining the disciplines of police and fire in order to provide superior service to the community and to first responders.

In January 2015, the existing fire and police communications centers were co-located on the 2nd floor of the Santa Monica Public Safety Facility and reorganized under the Office of Emergency Management. As part of the consolidation plan, existing workstations were reconfigured to support processing of fire and police calls for service. This update including working with Risk Management to ensure proper ergonomics and the purchase of specialized chairs designed for 24-hour use.

A national search was conducted to recruit and hire an expert in consolidated public safety communications to serve as administrator. A promotional and eternal recruitment was conducted to recruit and hire a diverse and experienced supervisory team. That supervisory team was tasked with improving working conditions, improving employee morale, and modernizing the communications training program. Recruitment of entry level and experienced communications personnel has brought staffing to historic levels. This recruitment is ongoing in coordination with ongoing training in support of staffing goals. In addition, the public safety communications center is completely staffed, trained, supervised, and administered by civilian personnel; providing ample opportunity for career enhancement and professional development.

City of Santa Monica © 2017

1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-8411 · TTY (310) 917-6626