The six-and-a-half year, $74-million project to combine emergency communications city-wide is complete. The MetroSafe building in downtown Louisville was dedicated today and 911 operations are already underway there.
Mayor Jerry Abramson says it was funded in part by state and federal money, and a 911 surcharge, but officials would have gone to great lengths to make it happen.
“We felt, post-9/11, that we had no choice,” says Abramson, “We had to move forward. We would have had to bonded the money, we would have had to borrow the money, we had to get this facility built.”
Abramson says hard lessons were learned on September 11th, 2001, when New York City’s police and fire departments had difficulty communicating with each other.
MetroSafe Director Doug Hamilton says the attacks provided a catalyst to begin work on the project, but the events of the last twelve months in Louisville have proved its worth as well.
“Three times we’ve been struck by a disaster,” says Hamilton, “three times it was necessary for emergency management and emergency services standing up here today to very quickly assess how bad are we hurt? What is it that our citizens need? What resources do we need? What resources do we have left?”
The MetroSafe facility will process about one-point-three million 9-1-1 calls each year, and will provide communication between emergency response departments.