South Sound 911 reached an agreement with the City of Puyallup to transition 911 and dispatch employees from Puyallup’s City Comm to South Sound 911, effective Jan. 3, 2016. The transition is significant in that it paves the way for the unification of 911 and dispatch services for 19 law enforcement agencies in the county.

“Welcoming employees from the Puyallup communications center into South Sound 911 brings us closer to accomplishing the mission Pierce County voters established for us, which is to provide unified, regional 911 and dispatch,” South Sound 911 Executive Director Andrew Neiditz said. “It is an important piece of the overall picture and represents a cooperative vision for the future of public safety in this region.”

More work is required before the public will notice a difference in service. A law enforcement operations committee began working in early 2015 to plan for and coordinate operations and procedures to help streamline services.

Employees and the 911 and dispatch services in Puyallup will not physically move anytime soon, however. Current operations will remain in Puyallup until the new unified, regional public safety communications center is complete. South Sound 911 has been searching for a suitable site for the facility since June, when a previously identified site was eliminated from consideration due to soil fill and contamination concerns.

In November 2011, Pierce County voters approved a 0.1 percent sales tax increase to support public safety, which included the consolidation of six separate 911 centers. To date, four of the 911 centers have become part of South Sound 911. Agreements have not yet been reached to transition fire/EMS dispatchers.