The Department of Public Safety Communications (PSC) vision is that, “we are a lifeline to those we serve”. This is a pretty simple quote to mean so much. When someone calls 911 the calls are routed into our communications center. This is where the caller is asked “Police, Fire or Medical”. During any given day, we have an opportunity to touch thousands of lives. Our communications center last year received and/or dispatched over 470,500 calls. This is a tremendous call volume that we have been entrusted with. Simply put, we serve our citizens…
The Department of PSC is divided into five different areas. The areas are administration, telecommunications, training, 911 addressing and radio services.
The Department of Public Safety Communications is staffed by 46 employees of which 35 are fully trained emergency telecommunicators. Each 9-1-1 telecommunicator must complete approximately 400 hours of training including two weeks at the SC Criminal Justice Academy, National Crime Information Center (NCIC) certification, certification in Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD), Emergency Fire Dispatch, as well as Law Enforcement Dispatch.
An example of the responsibilities assigned to Public Safety Communications related to emergency communication/9-1-1 are:
- Answer all 9-1-1 calls, emergency phone calls and non-emergency calls including requests for information, and alarm calls that do not originate through 9-1-1. When Public Safety Communications receives a 9-1-1 call for the local police departments the call is transferred to the appropriate agency.
- Dispatch, coordinate and manage all of the York County Sheriff’s Office and Tega Cay Police Departments emergency and non-emergency calls for service.
- Dispatch, coordinate and manage all fire emergency and non-emergency calls for service for all 18 fire departments that include the municipal departments of Clover, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Tega Cay and York.
- Dispatch, coordinate and manage all of the medical emergency and non-emergency calls for service for Piedmont Medical Center and 3 rescue squads.
- Dispatch, coordinate and manage all requests for service for the Coroner’s Office..
- Provide National Crime Information Center services for the Sheriff’s Office and Tega Cay Police Department.
- Serve as the county’s 24 hour warning point for emergency notification from the National Weather Service, Catawba Nuclear Station, and the South Carolina Emergency Warning Point.
- Provide after business hours answering and dispatching services for Animal Control, the Department of Social Services, Office of Fire Safety, Office of Emergency Management, York County Water/Sewer and the Red Cross.
In 2016 the Emergency Communications/9-1-1 center processed the following:
406,491 calls were received and dispatched by staff
278,843 Incoming 9-1-1 and Administrative Telephone Calls
68,830 Calls for service for the Sheriff’s Office
8,748 Calls for service for the Tega Cay Police Department
30,052 Calls for service for EMS/Rescue Squads
16,417 Calls for service for Fire Departments
1,208 Calls for service for Animal Control
1,795 Calls for service for the Coroner’s Office
587 Calls for service for the Department of Social Services
The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) formally awarded accreditation to the York County Department of Public Safety Communications for successfully meeting all best practice standards of its Public Safety Communications Accreditation Program.
The York County Department of Public Safety Communications is one of 113 stand-alone 9-1-1 Centers to be awarded this accreditation. In South Carolina there are only 7 accredited communication centers.
- I've accidently dialed 9-1-1. What should I do?
- If you accidently dial 9-1-1 and do not have any emergency it is important to stay on the line and explain to the call taker that answers your call that you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake. Hanging up before speaking with the 9-1-1 call taker will result in the call taker calling you back and law enforcement could be dispatched to your location.
- Who do I call for non-emergencies?
- For non-emergencies, such as noise complaints, animal complaints and police related incidents where there is not a crime in progress, contact our non-emergency line at (803) 329-1110 or (803) 628-3056. Please keep in mind, 9-1-1 does not provide legal advice.
- Why was I put on hold, after advising 9-1-1 that I needed to talk to law enforcement?
- When a caller requests a law enforcement agency other than the York County Sheriff's Office or Tega Cay Police Department, the 9-1-1 call taker will get the local municipal police department on the line with you. This process may take approximately 2-3 seconds by a one-button transfer. The 9-1-1 call taker will remain on the line until both parties are heard talking to each other, then we will disconnect.
- When I'm standing inside York County and using a cell phone to dial 9-1-1, why can my call go to another county?
- Cell phones "look" to the closest available cell phone tower to process any phone call. If that tower is busy, without you knowing it is doing so, your call will bounce to the next available tower which may be in another county. If that's the case, the call will go to the local 9-1-1 center in that county and that center must then transfer your call to the York County 9-1-1 center. With transferring the call from one county to another county technology limitations will not allow certain information to be displayed to the final answering point, so always be prepared to give detailed location and contact information to the call taker.
- Does the 9-1-1 call taker know my location?
- Always assume the 9-1-1 call talker does not know your location. Even if your cell phone is able to provide location information, you will need to provide the 9-1-1 call taker with additional location information. Remember, the approximate location the 9-1-1 center receives could be as large as 3 football fields or more. Be prepared to give specific directions to your location if possible.
- Why do you ask so many questions when I call 9-1-1?
- The 9-1-1 call taker needs to ask questions to determine what is happening and where it is happening. While the questions may seem unnecessary, the information helps them get the right responders to your location as quickly as possible. Answering these questions is not slowing down the response to your emergency. On all emergency situations another Telecommunicator is dispatching the emergency responders while the 9-1-1 call taker continues to gather your information.
- I’ve locked myself out of my vehicle/residence. Can you assist me?
- Law Enforcement, Fire Departments, and Rescue Squads within York County refrain from doing this due to liability reasons. However if there is a child or animal locked in the vehicle, this could be a life threatening situation. So, If there is a child or a pet locked in the vehicle, please call 9-1-1 so we can get assistance to you immediately.
- I’ve accidently set off my alarm. What should I do?
- You should contact your alarm monitoring service and advise them of the situation and they will notify us to cancel. You will need your proper passcode when you contact your alarm company to cancel.
- Is Public Safety Communications (dispatch/9-1-1) hiring or taking applications?
- You can check to see if we have any positions open by clicking here or by calling Human Resources at (803) 684-8812. We do not take applications unless we have an open position.
- How old do I have to be, and do I need to be medically trained to apply for a job at Public Safety Communications (dispatch/9-1-1)?
- The minimum age to apply is 18 after High School Graduation. Each Telecommunicator receives over 900 hours of training before they are allowed to answer a 9-1-1 call without direct supervision.
- I do not need an ambulance, but I need a ride to the hospital?
- We try to assist callers so they don't tie up an advance life support ambulance. We usually suggest you contact a non-emergency transport company such as Trans-Med (888-826-0911) or Ambu-Star (803-980-2628), or perhaps a family member, taxi, or neighbor could assist with these needs.
- I need to pay my ticket. What do I do?
- You need to contact the magistrates office listed on the ticket (near the middle) directly to pay your ticket. For a list of all the York County Magistrates and their contact information click here. If you are trying to pay a ticket issued by the Tega Cay Police Department you can pay it at the Tega Cay Police Station during normal business hours (Monday-Friday 8am-4pm).
- I need information about someone that has been arrested and/or is at the detention center. Who do I contact?
- You can contact the York County Detention Center directly at (803) 628-3088. If the person you are inquiring about has just been arrested within the last hour or two they may not have been booked into the detention center yet.
- I have a dead animal in the roadway near my house. What do I do? Can you help?
- If you have a dead animal and are located on a state maintained roadway contact the SCDOT at (803) 737-2314 or submit an online work order request here. If you are located on a county maintained roadway contact York County Public Works at (803) 628-3200 and they will be able to assist you in the removal of the carcass.