After working for years with dilapidated furniture and outdated equipment and systems, South Orange Police have a new dispatch center.
The revamped center was recently completed —”basically on time,” said Chief James Chelel — after about four months of construction.
Chelel said that the new center features “much better equipment” and will ensure “better quality of life for the residents” due to improved service. Chelel said that the equipment being replaced was “decades old” and that the last renovation of the dispatch center took place in the 1980s.
Dispatcher Lt. Jim Aiosa said that the new center was a morale boost: “It makes it a lot easier to do our job.”
Township Administrator Barry Lewis reported that the Village expended over $300,000 in replacing the 911 console, installing new CAD/RMS (Computer Aided Dispatch /Records Management System), installing a new voice recording system, installing a new surveillance system in headquarters, and completely renovating the communications center. Add in the construction, materials, furniture, consulting and project management costs and the grand total is $428,060.56.
Chelel wanted to thank Trustee Howard Levison who was the liaison for the project and is chair of the Finance and Technology Committee. “Howard was a big asset to us, a driving force,” said Chelel. “We wouldn’t have got it done without his assistance.” Chelel said that Captain Kyle Kroll also played a vital part in the process.
“This represents a major commitment to providing our Police Department with modern tools and an environment to support the highest levels of Public Safety,” wrote Levison in an email to VillageGreenNJ.com. ” This is part of our continuing program of improvement and maintenance of our Public Safety infrastructure and will in the future include an upgrade to radio communications, cctv (cameras at key locations), and quality of life related issues.”
Township Administrator Barry Lewis noted that the upgrades represented “major investments made in the past year and a half.” Beyond a more attractive room and better equipment, the upgrades include systems that impact policing department-wide and town-wide.
During the four months when the center was “basically gutted,” Chelel said the dispatch officers worked in a temporary center in the courthouse area of the station. “It was not the best working conditions,” said the Chief, but officer were “very patient.”
Now, with a reconstructed center, Chelel said that officers will be able to assemble data in a more detailed, timely and usable fashion due to new software and monitors, aiding in better dispatch and improved service to residents.
See a breakdown of the costs here:
See more before and after photos by clicking on the images below: