(Victor Valley)- – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors today approved an agreement with the City of Hesperia to construct a new Public Safety Operations Center in the High Desert Government Center.
“Construction of a Public Safety Operations Center in the High Desert will greatly improve the capability and responsiveness of our emergency responders, especially in the event of a disaster,” said First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt. “This makes effective use of space within the new Jerry Lewis High Desert County Government Center to modernize our 911 system and our emergency communications system. I would like to thank the City of Hesperia and the numerous county departments that worked on this project.”
The agreement calls for the City of Hesperia to take the lead on construction at a maximum cost of $10.65 million. The total overall cost of the project is expected to be $16.75 million, which includes new communication equipment and information technology capabilities.
An analysis in 2002 of the County’s Public Safety Communication System concluded that the existing County Emergency Operations Center in Rialto could not accommodate the projected future growth and that the existing buildings and facilities were inadequate to support the function.
A new state-of-the-art facility provides numerous benefits, including improved coverage in case of a disaster. For example, the San Andreas Fault runs through the Cajon Pass and after a major earthquake the High Desert will likely be cut off from the Inland Valley.
“High Desert residents will see improved safety when emergency responders have the best tools and facilities to do their jobs,” Supervisor Mitzelfelt said. “We are making good use of the new High Desert Government Center to provide the best, most flexible and efficient public safety services possible.”
Among other benefits are room to accommodate growth, the ability to undertake a major upgrade to the current 911 system, and establishment of a single High Desert location for Sheriff and County Fire dispatch. The project will feature a “fusion center” with technology and software that will allow public safety personnel to work together across agencies and disciplines to identify trends and issues, and then develop the most effective plans of action.
At Supervisor Mitzelfelt’s request, the High Desert Government Center was built to “essential facility” standards, meaning it was built to remain functional after a disaster, so it is the best facility to locate a new emergency operations center. The project is expected to be complete in early to mid-2013.