LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Luzerne County is one of only three counties in the state that has separate 911 and emergency management departments. A possible merger is on the horizon, which county officials believe would improve safety and security.
Two departments; one goal of helping the community.
Efforts are underway to consolidate Luzerne County 911 and the luzerne county emergency management agency.
“We are so excited now to be able to work so much closer and share resources, share contacts, share our knowledge, share our personnel,” said Luzerne County EMA Director and Interim 911 Director Lucy Morgan.
The county 911 center, headquartered in Hanover Township, provides police, fire, and emergency medical dispatching.
EMA, located in Wilkes-Barre, coordinates resources and responds to emergencies in the county, including weather-related disasters.
“We’re doing a lot of the same things, even with COVID response and stuff like that, we’ve made so many contacts and we have so many supporting agencies, and the municipalities, and all of the emergency services in Luzerne County. We’re hoping to just make that bond stronger,” Morgan explained.
911 has experienced staffing shortages, and the need for more dispatchers remains.
“Our operations at 911 have been improving over the past six months, we’re slowly filling vacancies, taking off the burden of our wonderful employees over at 911 who’ve been doing an excellent job under difficult circumstances so I’m just happy that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Luzerne County Council Member Matt Mitchell.
It’s up to Luzerne County Council to make the merger official.
“It will come before council for a vote, but we don’t expect any pushback because it’s about right-sizing, it’s a step in the right direction for modernizing operations in Luzerne County,” Mitchell explained.
It’s possible county council may vote to introduce the administrative code amendment ordinance at its next meeting on November 14.
In order for it to be passed, a public hearing and final vote is required.