Burnaby to switch to E-Comm dispatch

The original version of this story contained incorrect information. The corrected version is below.


Police dispatch services will no longer be done in-house after Burnaby council recently approved contracting E-Comm to do the work.

Currently, all 911 calls are connected to E-Comm which then transfers them to Burnaby civic employees who dispatch local RCMP services, according to a city staff report.

When the change is complete, in three to six months, Burnaby will join the 30 police and fire departments in southwest British Columbia, including Vancouver and Richmond, for which E-Comm dispatches emergency services directly. It will also handle all non-emergency calls for Burnaby RCMP.

The cost for a full year of service from E-Comm in 2013 is $2.48 million, a savings of about $100,000 for Burnaby city hall. The cost in 2014 and 2015 is expected to increase by 3.5 to four per cent annually subject to the final budgets approved by the E-Comm board of directors.

While Burnaby's current operations communications centre in the Burnaby RCMP detachment building is providing an "adequate level of service," city hall was prompted to review the service model because it is "facing multiple challenges with respect to aging equipment, spatial constraints, staff recruitment and capital upgrades," the report said.

In addition to cost, E-Comm has about 400 employees compared to the one manager and 32 communication operators who provide the service for Burnaby RCMP, allowing for better staff coverage during major events. It would provide better real-time communication between agencies in different municipalities, it is housed in a purpose-built earthquake resistant building and provides enhanced security and economies of scale.

E-Comm currently manages more than one million 911 emergency calls a year compared to about 58,000 for Burnaby's in-house police dispatch operation.

The 32 Burnaby operators represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 23 will be offered comparable positions in E-Comm (represented by CUPE local 873) as part of the service transfer and receive similar wages, benefits and the ability to retain their seniority.

Once the move is completed, Burnaby city staff will work with Burnaby RCMP to identify possible future uses by RCMP operations of the vacated space at the detachment.

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