Monday March 29, 2004
Doug Hamilton is the new executive director of the MetroSafe Communications initiative that will link the community’s emergency first responders, Mayor Jerry Abramson announced today.
Hamilton, former chief of the Louisville Police Department and U.S. Marshal, also will oversee the Emergency Management Agency. Dick Bartlett retired as director of EMA late last year.
“The ability of our first responders to communicate quickly – whether it’s our police and fire departments, hospitals or emergency medical services – will help create a safer community,” Hamilton said. “In an emergency or day-to-day safety operation, the ability to communicate effectively is critical.”
Abramson said Hamilton brings the “right amount of safety and management experience to the table to lead MetroSafe and EMA.”
“Doug understands how to manage people and large projects and he has an incredible amount of experience in public safety in our community,” Abramson added.
Hamilton, who most recently served as Director of the Louisville Metro Office of Accountability, will report to Public Protection Secretary Kim Allen in his new role.
Abramson said he hopes the program will be operational by 2006. Metro Government has gathered about $30 million thus far from local, state and federal sources for MetroSafe.
In addition, federal grant money has been used to hire PEC Solutions, a Virginia-based consulting firm that has worked on similar initiatives in other states. PEC is working with local agencies to identify the technology necessary for the project and the model for how the initiative will be run. The MetroSafe Office and the Metro Criminal Justice Commission, led by its executive director David Nicholson, will be working closely with PEC on a framework for the program, Abramson said.
Hamilton and Abramson said they hope a decision will be made within the next few months about where MetroSafe will be housed, a move that will go a long way toward determining the start date for the program.
Once MetroSafe is operational, emergency calls will go to a central location where dispatchers will handle all the agencies involved. Moreover, all the agencies will use radios that are compatible with each other. Now, when residents dial 911, calls are essentially relayed – across different radio frequencies – to the necessary emergency agency. Because safety agencies currently are on different frequencies, officials involved often have to use phones to relay messages through dispatchers.
“Safety has always been one of our top priorities. MetroSafe, particularly in the wake of 9-11, will allow us to provide better, faster and more responsive service to our hometown,” Abramson said. “With merger, we no longer live in a community with two governments and arbitrary boundaries that separate departments and people. We need to be able to communicate seamlessly to serve our new community more effectively.”