By Amy Wenk
The Chattahoochee River 911 Authority (Chatcomm) that serves Sandy Springs and Johns Creek will go live Sept. 1.
The $5.6-million facility, which fills 16,000 square feet on the fourth floor of an office building at the intersection of Barfield Road and Mount Vernon Highway in Sandy Springs, was set to open July 30. But it was delayed to better prep employees on emergency response procedures and equipment.
Now the 70-plus staffers of Chatcomm have trained and conducted drills for more than six weeks and are ready to dispatch both cities’ police and fire departments, as well as Rural Metro Ambulance.
“We are just ironing out the last operational details,” Sandy Springs Assistant City Manager Noah Reiter said after an Aug. 11 board meeting at the 911 center. “The staff has completed all their formal training and certifications, so now they are just practicing doing mock calls.”
He added there are a “few final configuration pieces on the systems, but nothing substantial.”
Officials have said the new center will increase local control over public safety and improve the service and protection Sandy Springs residents receive.
Call takers and dispatchers for the 911 center will be provided by New Jersey-based iXP Corp., but some Sandy Springs law enforcement personnel will be located there, too.
“There are one or two spaces that are really going to be utilitized by Sandy Springs police, at least initially,” Reiter said. “It might branch out to some other jurisdictions as well.”
One city space is a training room that around September or October will house the Sandy Springs Emergency Operations Center (EOC), now located at City Hall. Nearby is a smaller space for a future amateur radio operator that can support the EOC with emergency and disaster communications.
The Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC) for Sandy Springs and Johns Creek will be relocated to the 911 center. That center handles criminal records, warrants and background checks.
“They need to work pretty closely with the 911 center,” Reiter said.
There is another room for the Sandy Springs law enforcement intelligence center, which is being called the Fusion Center. In that space, officers will conduct real-time crime analysis and forecasting from video surveillance. Images will be shared with the EOC, said Reiter.
“We should be good here I think for at least five years without major modifications to the floor,” Reiter said.