The Township Council on December 3 voted to approve a shared services agreement with Union County which allows the county to answer 911 calls from the township and dispatch the necessary emergency services, including police, fire and emergency medical services (EMS).
The vote was 5-0 in favor of the agreement, with Councilman Stephen Yellin recusing himself, since he is an employee of the county.
Beginning in 2020, the state-of-the-art Union County Regional Dispatch Center in Westfield will now manage police, fire, and emergency medical service calls for the Township of Berkeley Heights, under a contract approved by the Freeholder Board during the regular meeting on December 19.
Before making this decision, officials from the various township emergency services, including police, fire, EMS, office of emergency management (OEM) and Mayor Angie Devanney and all members of the Council visited the county facility to see first-hand the day-to-day operation of the facility. In the course of their visits, they observed the state-of-the-art county facility can offer technology and resources that far surpass those of the township.
Township officials also consulted with officials with the emergency services in other towns using the county dispatch services to hear about their experiences with the services and with Union County public safety and police administration members from Union County.
The agreement will provide the township substantial savings in personnel and technology costs, including a savings of more than $100,000 because it will not have to move certain antennas to the new municipal complex for dispatching services.
View the presentation, given to Council on September 24 by the Berkeley Heights Police Chief, and supported by the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Fire Department and Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad, here: Berkeley Heights Dispatch Options