The SWRCC is located at 200 S. Parks Drive in DeSoto, which is the former location of the DeSoto Police Department. This relatively non-descript, compact building provides the perfect environment required to support the specialized mission of the SWRCC.
The Formation of the SWRCC
In 1998 the city managers of DeSoto, Cedar Hill, and Duncanville came together to discuss the idea of pooling their public safety resources in an effort to reduce their operational costs. One idea that evolved was what we now know as the Southwest Regional Communications Center.
A year later the Southwest Regional Communications Center opened for business and the grand adventure began. There are many reasons why this partnership has been a good idea for its members. One is that these cities are approximately the same size and share similar socioeconomic demographics. They also share similar philosophies regarding public safety service delivery.
Another strong reason for this partnership is that each of these cities hold the distinction of being Home Rule cities. In 911 language a Home Rule city provides its citizens 911 services rather than passing this task to a political sub-division such as a 911 district.
Reasons for Creating a Joint Service
Constructing and maintaining an effective 911 phone system is a very complex and expensive proposition for any small community. By sharing these costs across the tax base of three cities working in consort, tax payers aren’t burdened with a large, long term debt.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, quickly led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Along with the DHS, came many new and innovative philosophies and methods of sharing information resources between public safety organizations.
With these new philosophies and methods came grant opportunities for regional projects. Since the creation of SWRCC is a regional effort, grants became available to help offset some of the major costs of the organization.
During the first quarter of 2005, SWRCC launched its regional public safety software system, purchased with federal grant funds. It is the foundation for the entire SWRCC project, and provides almost instantaneous access to regional public safety information. Additionally, this public safety software system provides wireless access to every police and firefighting vehicle in each of the three cities.
By 2006, sufficient need was demonstrated to support the construction of a WAN (or wide area fiber optic network) at the SWRCC allowing each city to easily access the main frame located at SWRCC headquarters as if it were in their own building.
Public Safety Radio Network Project
SWRCC’s public safety radio network is a three tower, 15 channel, UHF narrow band radio network is being constructed on the MPT1327 radio protocol, which is a world standard. This project is another example of how by pooling resources and partnering these three cities can purchase a better product together than any of them can alone.
Unlike many of the surrounding cities, radio interoperability has been designed into this new SWRCC radio network and not a mere add-on. The completion of this project will provide yet another example of why the SWRCC is a model of technology partnership.