Centre County may partner with other counties for emergency services

Falling in line with a statewide initiative, Centre County is looking at the possibility of combining functionality of 911 and emergency management systems with other counties.

The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday passed a regional shared services assessment between the county and Mission Critical Partners for its share of a study to determine the possibility of collaboration. The county share is $22,500 for a one-year period that will be funded through a special allocation from the 911 wireless fund.

“The state is encouraging regionalized resources throughout the commonwealth with 911 systems,” Emergency Communications and 911 Director Dan Tancibok said.

Centre County is part of a region made up of other south-central counties within the state. Each county will put money toward the assessment. The region also includes Bedford, Blair, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Snyder counties.

County officials have said the new system has additional capacity for other counties to jump on, but those talks haven’t progressed.

Centre County agencies are expected to switch to the new system in the coming weeks. Tancibok said they have worked through some bugs with the microwave equipment and are getting ready to run some additional tests and start the transition.

Though Clearfield County isn’t technically in the same region, the board also is looking to continue to work with it on services. The county is sharing a tower site with Clearfield at Kylertown and working through continued collaboration possibilities.

Chairman Steve Dershem said he has been happy with that relationship, and hopes it continues to grow.

“Our perspective is the line from Clearfield to Centre County doesn’t exist when it comes to emergency services,” adding that they have worked with West Nile virus prevention and other services.

Additional progress on the transfer to the new system could be weather dependent because it will include some tower climbing.