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NORCOM becomes METCOM in merged 911 service

The name is longer, but the response time will be just as quick.

That is the word from Scott Russell, chief of Woodburn Police Department on the consolidation of two 911 dispatch centers covering an area from St. Paul to Turner and Idanha.

The new agency, called the Marion Area Multiagency Emergency Telecommunications, or METCOM, took effect July 1 after a two-year negotiation process involving 39 different partners, said Russell, who will serve as the board chairman of the new agency.

“Every fire board, city council and branch of local government had to take action to form one of these local bodies,” Russell said. “It took a lot of negotiations to get it done.”

The move combines NORCOM, or North Marion Communications, with SCCC, or Santiam Canyon Communications Center, and helps both agencies become more efficient, Russell said.

“Some of the smaller centers didn’t have access to the technology that larger centers had,” he said.

The Woodburn center will benefit from increased efficiency by hiring a radio technician. The agency has had to contract technical services in the past, he said.

The consolidation did not result in any job cuts, but moved five full-time positions from Stayton to Woodburn, where there will be 23 full-time employees, Russell said.

Those dispatchers will take calls from an area encompassing 1,000 square miles and covering a combined 110,000 citizens.

The new dispatch center will route emergency calls from Stayton or other outlying areas to the appropriate responders, Russell said.

“Users will see no change in service,” he said. “Really, it’s about savings and providing standardized service wherever you call from in the area.”

The move is part of a greater consolidation effort taking place statewide as the state looks to dole out 911 funding more efficiently.

Further consolidation could be on the horizon as Marion County is looking for ways to utilize technology in its emergency response, he said.



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