Pharr, Texas, Unveils State-of-the-Art Public Safety Center

The new communications center will help emergency dispatchers handle calls more efficiently. Prior to the new facility, all 911 calls went to the police department and a dispatcher would then reroute the caller as needed.

by Francisco E. Jimenez, The Monitor / October 9, 2019
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(TNS) — The city of Pharr hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and unveiled a new state-of-the-art Public Safety Communications Building on Tuesday morning.

Prior to the ribbon cutting, a VIP tour was provided for local law enforcement representatives in attendance, including the Edinburg police and fire departments, Peñitas Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, among others.

The tour included a look at the new data center, information and technology area, the emergency operations center/ training room, paystation and the dispatch.

"What this building is going to provide is it's going to shave seconds off response times," said Pharr's public safety communications director, Daniel Ramirez, who led the tour of the new facility.

Ramirez said that prior to the new facility, 9-1-1 calls went to the police department. The dispatcher would then determine if the caller needed the police, fire department or EMS.

"If you need fire, it gets transferred to another building. If you need EMS, it gets transferred to another city. This is going to prevent that from happening here in Pharr ever again," Ramirez said. "When you call 911, and we answer that here, we dispatch all of those resources here so nothing gets transferred anymore."

Ramirez explained that the center will serve as the dispatch for Peñitas PD and FD, Progresso FD, Linn San Manuel FD, as well as the Pharr PD, FD and EMS.

The new facility has been in the works for over two years. The city will begin fully operating out of the facility on Oct. 20, once 9-1-1 completes their part of the process and the city is able to test everything.

Ramirez explained that once testing is complete, the city will send a request to the Texas Department of Public Safety to move the satellite, which provides information on license plates over to the new facility.

"It's state of the art. Everything here is brand new," Ramirez said. "We have multiple fiber-optic lines coming in from all angles of the building, so there's a lot of redundancy. We're also going to be doing what's called EMD, which is emergency medical dispatch, EFD, which is emergency fire dispatch, and emergency PD dispatch. Those have never been done at other cities here in the Valley, so we're going to integrate all of those into one and do everything at the same time."

Edinburg Police Chief Cesar Torres, who participated in the tour, said he is impressed by the new Public Safety Communications Building.

"It's a beautiful facility, and it's top of the line," said Torres after the tour. "The city of Pharr is a pinnacle city. I'm very happy for them that they're getting this center. There's no doubt that they're going to produce magic with this particular system here."

Also participating in the tour was Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra.

"This is a great facility that Pharr has built. This facility will help expedite emergency response from our EMS, to our fire, to law enforcement," Guerra said. "Anytime you can consolidate those services into one building, the faster response time is going to be because you don't have to transfer 9-1-1. This is a great idea."

©2019 The Monitor (McAllen, Texas). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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