Emergency Operations Center Receives Top Award for Technology

NEWS RELEASE #: 16-162

From left: Sarasota County Director of Emergency Services Rich Collins, Public Safety Communications Manager Jerry Wheeler, Emergency Operations Bureau Captain Tim Enos, Technical Services Technician Dan Sullivan and Supervisor Brett Thomas.

Sheriff Tom Knight is pleased to announce that the Sarasota County Emergency Operations Center was recognized by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) with the 2016 Technology Leadership Award for a Large Communications Center.

APCO recognizes public safety communications agencies for their use of technological advancements and the demonstrated benefit received by their employees and the citizens they serve. Award recipients were recognized on August 15th at the APCO Annual Conference in Orlando.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) functions through a partnership between the SCSO Emergency Operations Bureau and Sarasota County Government's Emergency Services' Public Safety Communications Department. The 24/7 multi-jurisdictional operation services more than 400,000 residents spread among the 725 square miles that make up Sarasota County. In 2015, the sheriff's office Public Safety Communications Center moved into a state-of-the-art facility and upgraded their technology to include new mapping, radio software and hardware, an internal 911 academy for new employees, and created text-to-911 solutions for citizens.

"We are incredibly proud of the men and women who make up our Emergency Operations Bureau," said Sheriff Knight. "These are the folks who work behind the scenes and are on the receiving end of the line when citizens experience their worst moments. It is through a joint partnership with Sarasota County Government that we continue to enhance our center in order to provide the best in service to our community and our visitors."

The Public Safety Communications Center received approximately 260,000 (911) calls and 340,000 non-emergency calls for service in 2015. The EOC also houses the Sarasota County Contact Center, a hub for information for the county's residents that's easily reached by calling 941.861.5000.