The Washington Post

Pr. George’s to open new public safety communications center

Prince George’s County 911 call takers and dispatchers will report to work in a new, $35.6 million public safety communications center Tuesday in a transition officials hope won’t be noticed by county residents.

County homeland security officials offered a tour of the new center, based in Bowie, to reporters Monday, touting its readiness.

Charlynn Flaherty, the county’s public safety communications director, said dispatchers and managers had prepared “ad nauseam” for the changeover, which is set to occur in the morning.

“I can’t imagine not being more ready,” Flaherty said.

Flaherty said officials “ran out of room” at the old facility and decided it would be most cost-effective to buy and equip a new building.

The new, 40,000-square foot facility on Melford Boulevard is equipped with 63 stations for dispatchers and 911 call takers, compared to 36 in the current facility in Landover, Flaherty said.

It also has management offices, a spacious kitchen and a training room that mirrors the actual call center, officials said.

The $36.5 million figure — $5.6 million was funded by state and federal grants — includes all the costs associated with buying and equipping the new building, Flaherty said.

It is different from a $76 million overhaul to the county’s radio system, which is ongoing, officials said.

The Anchor Street facility will be used as a backup center once the Bowie facility goes live, Flaherty said.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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