MERIDIAN - The Idaho State EMS Communications Center celebrated 40 years on Thursday. StateComm dispatchers work at the Idaho State Police headquarters in Meridian alongside ISP dispatchers.
"Idaho is the only state that I'm aware of in the U.S. like this that has a communication center like this that has a statewide footprint that connects to so many state agencies," said Wayne Denney, who is the EMS Bureau Chief for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Denney says StateComm dispatchers take calls regarding EMS, hazmat, fire, transportation and Fish and Game situations.
"We can have a conversation throughout the state with all of those agencies so it makes it a lot easier to respond to whatever sort of event we have going on," said Denney.
There are times Idaho State Police dispatchers are also responding to the same event like a traffic crash involving hazardous material.
"We're talking to the transportation department and they're talking to troopers," said Denney.
What makes the partnership so unique is how two state agencies can work closely together in the same room.
"Everybody is together and can make decisions right there," said Kelley Rawlings, who is StateComm dispatcher. "Initially at the beginning of a situation sometimes it can be very chaotic and don't always have all of the information but when ever we have ITD units on scene with ISP we can help them communicate together to get the full picture of what's going on."
Rawlings says it's much quicker in person working together. Denney says that's why housing StateComm dispatchers alongside ISP dispatchers has made such an impact.
"It's so incredible for them to be able to stand up and to have a conversation in the same room that doesn't have to go through a radio network," said Denney.
Idaho State Police Director Col. Kedrick Wills says it's a collaboration that will continue for the foreseeable future.
"They know each other, they know their strengths, they know their abilities, and so we can complement each other really well," said Wills. "Who benefits the most from this is the public."
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