More than a half decade of hard work came to fruition Wednesday when the Southeast Regional Emergency Services Authority began receiving calls from all three member communities.
Police, fire and EMS calls from St. Clair Shores, Roseville and Eastpointe are now being routed to a consolidated dispatch center that was built in a Roseville municipal building.
For more than two weeks calls from residents in St. Clair Shores have been routed to the new center, where civilian dispatchers responded to calls for service.
"It was great we were able to start with one community. It allowed all of the dispatchers to have a chance to learn the new equipment," said Cherie Bartram, executive director of the authority.
At 9 a.m. Wednesday the remaining two cities were connected to the call center without a glitch, according to officials. This culminated an effort that began nearly six years ago when large and small cities throughout Macomb County began discussions about a creating a regional dispatch center.
While the other cities, townships and sheriff's office decided not to move forward, the three southeast Macomb County communities decided to continue with the effort and worked through a number of contract, facility and equipment issues to bring the new dispatch center on line.
Currently there are 17 civilian dispatchers and five supervisors. This includes the 11 dispatchers from the Shores and four from Roseville, in addition to new hires.
While the dispatchers will all work for the authority, each city will still be served by its own first responders. Benjamin Hughes, the St. Clair Shores city manager, said the city can expect to save at least $200,000 in the first year.
"The key word here is seamless," said St. Clair Shores Mayor Robert Hison, who complimented the work done by all parties to insure residents did not notice a change.
He also said this could be a model for other communities to follow for emergency and other services.
Starting Monday, dispatch calls from St. Clair Shores will go to the consolidated dispatch center. To reach the dispatch center, residents can call 586-777-6700. The police department general number, 586-445-5300, will still work.