D.C. to create public-safety command post
The District of Columbia this month broke ground on a Unified Communications Center on the campus of St. Elizabeths Hospital in southeast Washington.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams and chief technology officer Suzanne Peck shoveled earth for the $43 million building, which will serve as a dispatch hub for police and fire 911 calls, nonemergency 311 calls, the mayor's call center and the D.C. Emergency Management Agency.
In the event of a regional emergency, the three-story building also will house command and control operations for joint local and federal emergency teams.
Slated for completion by the summer of next year, the center will house a staff of 350 people and be open 24 hours a day.
'No one will have a facility like this anywhere in the country,' Peck said. 'It will do it all: answer everyday service calls, dispatch police and firefighters, and direct communications during a natural disaster.'
City officials said the center also will bring economic development to Washington's Ward 8, east of the Anacostia River.
Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.