The Washington-Yuma Combined Communications Center launched in 1992, following three years of extensive planning. W-Y Comm became the first Communications Center in Colorado to consolidate two county’s emergency services into one dispatch center. The 911 Authority Board and Communications Board of Directors were formed, consisting of several members who were instrumental in the planning, oversight, and subsequent founding of the Center.
Originally, Joes was thought to be an ideal location for the 911 Center, as all of the equipment needed to be placed near a central telephone hub switch. However, the city of Yuma was in the planning process of relocating the Yuma Police Department, and was seeking grants to build a new facility. This led to an agreement between the City of Yuma and the 911 Authority Board to house the Communications Center in the lower level of the new police department.
In June 1992 Steve Hauger was hired to serve as Director of W-Y Comm, and began his duties on July 1. He began hiring staff that included employees brought in from the Yuma PD, Wray PD, and Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Walt Hardesty, who had experience dispatching for both Yuma PD and Washington County, was hired as the Operations Coordinator and began work on July 15, 1992. Walt took over as Director in January 2002, a position he held until February, 2015.
Completion of equipment installation and employee training wrapped up in November and the Washington-Yuma Combined Communications Center went live on November 8, 1992.
With new technology advances and public expectation increases the center has made many improvements through the years going from pen and paper documentation to a completely computer driven record keeping system. Radio communications has evolved dramatically, as well as Enhanced 911 capabilities. W-Y Comm strives to keep current and has one of the most technologically advanced communications centers east of the front range in Colorado.
W-Y Comm currently employs 1 Director, 1 Assistant Director, 1 Financial Director, 8 Full Time Dispatchers and 2 Part Time Dispatchers. The center is manned by at least two dispatchers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The experience level of our current dispatchers ranges from 1 year to 15 years. All dispatchers are certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch, ICS/NIMS, CPR and First Aid, and several other disciplines. The initial training period typically lasts anywhere from three to six months, but the education never ends. Each day is a new learning experience.
These dispatchers handle approximately 23,500 calls for service yearly. This number does not include the many administrative phone calls received daily for the various agencies we serve.