911 calls may be answered by Harrison County's 911 Commission

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County's sheriff wants to get out of the dispatch business.  Melvin Brisolara thinks the time has come for the county's 911 Commission to take over his dispatch center.

Every emergency call in D'Iberville, Pass Christian or unincorporated Harrison County comes through this dispatch center.  The dispatchers operate out of a corner office at the Harrison County Adult Detention Center.  Right now, the sheriff's office runs this room.  However, the sheriff said, "I don't want the power of running the dispatch center."

So Sheriff Melvin Brisolara has a plan.  He wants to turn over the whole dispatch operation to Harrison County's 911 Commission.

"I just want to try and make it as effective and cost efficient as we can," he said.

Long Beach Fire Chief George Bass has always been a vocal supporter of a centralized dispatch center.

"That's been a goal for a long time for me, let's get dispatch in one location," he said.

Bass is the city's representative on the 911 Commission.  His dispatchers operate out of Long Beach's Central Fire Station, because right now, that makes the most financial sense for his city.  But if the sheriff can prove that having the 911 Commission answer emergency calls is more economical, he'll consider making the switch.

"It comes down to the bottom line and the bottom dollar.  What can we save by consolidating dispatch?" Bass wondered.  "Until we have those figures in front of us in paper, it's going to be a difficult job for me to go to the mayor and board and say let's move without any facts and figures to say let's move."

The fire chief says before the 911 Commission considers taking over the dispatch center, it must hire a dispatch coordinator.  Because the facility is in the jail, the sheriff said the county would cover all utility costs.

The 911 Commission gets its revenue from both land line phone bills and cell phone bills.

Sheriff Brisolara will present his dispatch consolidation plan to the 911 Commission in October.

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