The Dakota Communications Center (DCC) organization was established late 2005 through a Joint Powers Agreement between Dakota County and eleven cities located within the County. In 2004 the High Performance Partnerships (HiPP) project, conducted by the Dakota County cities and county, identified the need for the development of a centralized public safety answering point (PSAP) and dispatch center. A combination of factors – attention to homeland security, upgrades in technology, the readiness of various governmental units to act, the availability of grant money, and the financial benefits to participating governments served to bring the idea to reality.
The DCC organization is guided by a complex governance structure with three distinct committees including the Board of Directors (elected officials), the Executive Committee (city/county chief administrators), and the Operations Committee (law enforcement, fire, and EMS personnel). In addition, multiple task forces, comprised of members from the three Committees and stakeholders (law enforcement, fire, EMS, dispatch personnel), have been formed to address start up issues. Nearly 120 persons have been a part of the DCC development process, involved in many aspects including creating policies, designing the facility, identifying personnel needs, and much more. The governance structure reflects the desire of our Members to retain local decision making in a centralized service.
A five-year minimum commitment to the project has been made by the participating jurisdictions. In 2006 construction of the facility began and was completed in late 2007. The DCC is equipped with a new 800 megahertz digital radio communications system to allow police, fire, EMS and sheriff’s personnel in multiple jurisdictions to communicate with each other, enhancing the interoperability of radio systems among all first responders. The Dakota County system is part of a metropolitan wide network, which is being expanded to greater Minnesota.