HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — The town of Holly Springs is going it alone on emergency calls. It has activated a new 911 dispatch center separate from Wake County, but some worry the independence may come with a price.
When Holly Springs residents need emergency help, their calls are now answered at the Holly Springs Police Department.
The calls used to ring at the Raleigh-Wake County call center, which then relayed the information to Holly Springs. Holly Springs Police Chief Cecil Parker said the new center brings efficiency.
"It provides what we hope will be shorter response times. In an emergency situation, seconds can literally make the difference between life and death," he said.
There is another benefit for the town of Holly Springs -- the 911 service fee phone companies charge customers. It means $14,000 a month will now be coming to the town, instead of going to Wake County.
Wake County also misses out on a $12 fee it charged Holly Springs for every dispatch. John Rukavina, the county's public safety director, said he is not worried about the money, but safety.
"If you do have a major disaster, having all the communicators in one place can be helpful," he said.
Rukavina, who lobbied against the Holly Springs call center, said communication between agencies will be tested during a major emergency.
"The question is what is the best possible arrangement and on that matter, we simply agreed that we disagree on that," he said.
For now, Wake County will serve as a backup for the Holly Springs call center, which is expected to handle more than 2,000 calls a month. Holly Springs is the second Wake County town to activate its own local call center. Cary is the other.