Cumberland County opened a new emergency services center in Fayetteville Wednesday. The facility was launched to serve 911 callers with more updated technology and to provide better amenities for staffers.
Officials say the new emergency services center for the county on Executive Place is larger and more attractive than its old location on Dick Street under the sheriff's office.
"When you're in a building that's 47, 48, 49 years old, it's difficult to add new technology in a building with concrete and asphalt walls. So with this new building, we're able to grow," said Gene Booth, the Cumberland County Emergency Services director.
The new facility has room for twice as many staffers, more meeting spaces, and even a fitness area. Officials say they wanted to create a work space that was more accommodating to employees' mental health needs. But more importantly, the county opened the center to enhance its emergency services with more advanced technology for 911 calls.The technology--called next "generation 911"-- aims to offer more convenience and flexibility for people calling in the middle of a crisis.
"(It) includes texts to 911, being able to receive imagery over texting to 911, as well as being able to foward our calls. If we have to evacuate this building we can transfer our calls to other 911 centers," Booth said.
"I think everybody in Cumberland County ought to be proud of this," Cumberland County Commissioner Glenn Adams. "The other thing I'll tell you is that for other municipalities, we're a backup for some folks. If something happens to their 911--you've seen it in Durham where' it's going down, we've got the ability to help those other communities around us."
County officials says the new facility cost over $17 million without having to raise taxes. Launching the building has been three years in the making. Staffers will begin moving into the new facility in the next few days.