Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Morris County Freeholders dedicated a three-story addition to the county’s Public Safety Training Academy on Oct. 19.  The 39,000-square-foot, $23 million facility, which was completed on schedule and on budget, houses the county’s new Emergency OperationsCenter, a new 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center, a new state-of-the-art Sheriff’s crime lab and the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Unit.

Freeholders Dedicate New Addition to Public Safety ComplexThis building is indeed the culmination of bringing together in one place so many shared services, especially those needed in emergency situations,” said Freeholder Director Tom Mastrangelo.  “It’s been several years in the planning and we are proud today to be standing here and officially dedicating this facility.”

Freeholder Doug Cabana, liaison to Law and Public Safety, said the addition was designed as a “last building standing,” able to withstand the most severe weather and natural disaster events.

“Redundancies such as backup electrical power, radio, telephone and communications systems have been built into the structure to ensure the critical public safety functions that are performed inside the building can be carried out under the most extreme environmental conditions,” Cabana said.

Director Mastrangelo pointed out that a new data center that will provide back up and business continuity for the county’s technology is also included in the addition.

“The redundancies that are built into this building mean the county will be able to quickly recover and restore records and maintain continuity in county government in the event of a disaster,” Mastrangelo said.  “That is critical for every county resident.”

The freeholders said the new Emergency Operations Center will provide the space needed for representatives of emergency management, law enforcement, human services, public works, utilities, county government and other agencies to make operational decisions during a large-scale emergency or disaster in a specially designed space just for that purpose.
Not only will the E-O-C provide the space for all involved in emergency response but it is also available for other governmental entities that might need the space to continue their own functions during time of disaster, the freeholders said.
The freeholders noted that the new and expanded 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Centerhas the capacity to serve any of the county’s 39 towns that want to share dispatch services with the county.  The county now provides full emergency dispatch services to 23 towns and 9-1-1 dispatch to six communities.
Cabana said when the freeholder board conducted a series of shared-services meetings with mayors and other local officials several years ago, the number one shared-service priority identified among those officials was police dispatching.

“The freeholders made a commitment at that time to expand the county’s communication system,” Cabana said.  “Those freeholders and the other freeholder boards that followed, including this one, thought it was important to keep that commitment, and that is evidenced by this new facility.”

Several former freeholders joined current board members at the dedication ceremony to help cut the ribbon officially opening the new facility in front of a crowd that included state legislators, mayors and municipal officials and first responders from towns across the county.