CITY NOTIFIES FIRE COMMUNICATION SPECIALISTS OF
CHANGES AS EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS TRANSITIONS
Community moving to new SREC operations
The City of Spokane today notified 10 Spokane Fire Department Communication Specialists that they will be laid off from the City on July 1 when the new Spokane Regional Emergency Communications (SREC) is scheduled to begin operations. The affected employees, who provide dispatch services among other things, will be offered new communication positions with the SREC agency.
The City has until May 21 to decide whether it will join the new regional communication system. Some work that the City’s Fire Communication Specialists have been doing will move to the new system regardless, resulting in the need for the layoff notices. The City has been providing communication, dispatch, and related services for all of the Fire districts in the County and the cities of Medical Lake, Airway Heights, and Cheney; those agencies have decided to contract with SREC for those services instead.
SREC currently is expected to provide the following services:
· 9-1-1 and Crime Check call receiving services for all law enforcement, fire and medical response agencies in Spokane County, including the City of Spokane.
· Law enforcement dispatch services for Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and other contracted county agencies.
· Fire, medical and all-risk dispatch services for 14 fire agencies and districts in Spokane County.
· Operations and maintenance of the regional public safety emergency communications radio system
Depending on the final decision by the City Council about participation in SREC, the community and City employees could experience a couple of different outcomes:
· If the City joins the regional system, SREC also would provide communication and dispatch services for the Spokane Fire Department (SFD) and Spokane Police Department (SPD). All City employees involved in dispatch would become part of the SREC system, and the City would have the ability to assist with negotiation of wage and benefit packages for its employees.
· If the City decides not to join the system, City employees would continue to provide dispatch and communication services for SFD and SPD. Those employees would retain their City pay and benefits. The City would be essentially operating a duplicate communication center who would provide services solely to the City. Those employees who are laid off and then hired by SREC would receive pay and benefits set by the SREC agency.
Spokane area public safety agencies have been working to develop a collaborative, integrated emergency communications system since voters approved a 10-year extension of a one-tenth of one percent sales tax measure in April 2017 that included this goal.
Integration of the system resulted in the creating of SREC (www.srec911.org) and is envisioned to create efficiencies and greater collaboration among public safety agencies and responders, improved officer and firefighter safety, reduced emergency response times, better-quality data to assess crime trends, and overall improvement of the community’s financial and technical resources.
Interim Communications Director
City of Spokane | Public Works Director of Strategic Development