News Flash

City News

Posted on: October 4, 2021

Getting Faster Help in an Emergency

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The Windsor Heights Police and Fire Departments are now dispatched by Westcom Communications. This change helps crews respond faster to emergency calls.

What is Westcom? 

Westcom is a “public safety answering point,” also known as a PSAP. A PSAP receives 9-1-1 calls, answers non-emergency calls for service, dispatches police, fire, and EMS crews, and assists with other aspects of dispatching for first responders. Click here to visit their website.

What changes for Windsor Heights residents?

The main change is a different non-emergency phone number for dispatch. The number is now 515-222-3321. 

Otherwise, Windsor Heights residents can expect faster responses from neighboring police/fire departments who assist Windsor Heights crews during emergencies. Most residents won’t notice a change as the switch relates to dispatch and the radio channels we operate on during police and fire incidents.

Why is Windsor Heights making the change? 

Windsor Heights was on the Polk County radio system. However, none of the communities touching Windsor Heights are dispatched through Polk County, and none of the responders surrounding us are on the Polk County radio system. Three of our four neighbors are on Westcom and the fourth is Des Moines, which has its own dispatch. 

The disparity in dispatch centers creates up to a 9-minute delay in getting additional resources dispatched, sending back-up for our officers should they need assistance, and creates a situation where our first responders have no situational awareness of what is going on within close proximity of our City. The change to Westcom allows our responders to be on the same system as those partners who provide us assistance on a daily basis.

Employee Spotlight

Derek MeyerCapt. Derek Meyer has been an instrumental part in making the switch to Westcom. He has been working on the Westcom transition in a multi-level role for over a year.

"Switching dispatch centers takes a collective effort among a variety of public safety disciplines, " Capt. Meyer said. "It requires executive decision-makers, elective and community support, project managers, system experts, and trainers. Additionally, it requires hardware and technical configuration."

Partnering with Westcom will increase the department's operational efficiency and will help make our community an even safer place to live.

 

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