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New emergency dispatch facility in the works to serve San Luis Obispo Co.

Dispatchers will soon be answering emergency calls in Templeton, and to make things easier between Cal Fire SLO and the SLO County Sheriff’s Office, both teams will be in the same building.
Posted at 6:36 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 22:50:35-04

Dispatchers will soon be answering emergency calls in Templeton, and to make things easier between CAL FIRE SLO and the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, both teams will be in the same building.

“It's the primary answering point for 911 calls in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County, which means if you call 911 from the county area, we receive that call,” said Nate Paul, SLO County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy of Operations. “If it is a fire for example we transfer it to county fire for fire response. If it's a law enforcement type emergency, we will dispatch sheriff deputies.”

It is time for the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s dispatch to get a new home.

“Our existing dispatch center was built in the early 80s and it is literally out of space, we’re at capacity, we’re at excess of our capacity for everything from people’s desks to the amount of electricity available in the building,” explained Chief Deputy Paul.

Same goes for CAL FIRE SLO’s dispatch.

“The Cal Fire SLO dispatch is currently operating out of a very old building with no room for expansion. Moving into the co-located in Templeton building will allow us room to expand when needed to support large emergencies,” said Dave Fowler, CAL FIRE SLO Emergency Command Center’s Battalion Chief.

On Tuesday, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved a 17,000 square foot, two-story dispatch facility on North Main Street in Templeton.

“The project budget for this project is approximately 39 million dollars, 25 million dollars of that is for the design, build contract that was awarded by the board of supervisors,” said Robert Ruiz, the project delivery manager for San Luis Obispo County Public Works. “The balance of that is to cover things outside of that contract, which includes a lot of the equipment on the towers, a lot of the equipment in the buildings, furniture, a lot of the testing, geo-tech studies.”

As the county’s population grows, first responders want to be ready to go.

“It will have a lot of communications, state-of-the-art equipment, in the facility, and we’ll have to install some equipment on remote towers throughout the county to make this a fully operational facility,” added Ruiz.

Bringing together two agencies that heavily rely on each other.

“We will co-locate in the same building with CAL FIRE SLO who is the primary response agency in the county,” said Chief Deputy Paul. “This will allow us to centralize our dispatch function and lessen the time it takes to talk to each other in the event of both routine calls and major incidents.”

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff also serves as dispatch for Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande, so the plan is to move its current dispatch personnel from San Luis Obispo along with the Sheriff’s Watch Commander and support staff.

“It represents truly the next generation of 911 response and our ability to serve the citizens of the county and keep them safe,” added Chief Deputy Paul.

SLO County Public Works said they are still in the designing phase, but the plan is to break ground in about a year.

The goal is to have the building completed by November 2024 with the dispatch facility up and running shortly after.