Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee announced today he is crafting legislation that he hopes will get every jurisdiction in Utah on a single 9-1-1 emergency response system. The Ogden Republican was joined by Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams who’s been trying to do the same thing at the county level.
Riverton Mayor Bill Applegarth says it’s time to change the 9-1-1 system in the Salt Lake Valley.
“I don’t feel safe frankly, totally safe with the dispatch system, the way it’s set up now,” Applegarth says.
He says he supports Representative Dee’s plan to consolidate the system state-wide, which Dee says will eliminate confusion, save money, shrink emergency response times and save lives.
“When someone is having a heart attack and their wife calls 9-1-1, they need the service now,” Dee says. “They don’t care where it comes from. They don’t care who’s answering the phone. They just want it now.”
In September, Mayor McAdams announced Salt Lake County had set aside $1.4 million to move to a single computer system. Currently, dispatch centers across the Salt Lake Valley are split between two. But McAdams says he’s frustrated as discussions continue about which system to toss.
“It inexcusable for bureaucracy and turf to get in the way of our ability to respond to an emergency,” McAdams says.
He says statewide legislation is essentially quote ‘putting everyone in the same room and shutting the door’.
But the bill goes a step further than what McAdams originally proposed. It would also implement a unified management structure.
Dee says the bill will likely be introduced in the coming days.