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Pasco County Sheriff's Office wants to consolidate 911 operations with Zephyrhills police

Posted at 5:45 PM, Feb 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-06 18:10:32-05

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The Zephyrhills Police Department responded after the Pasco County Sheriff's Office calls on every department to combine 911 operations.

Sheriff Chris Nocco took to Facebook Wednesday to talk about what happened Tuesday. He says someone called 911 to report a person carrying a gun near Stewart Middle school in Zephyrhills.

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It ended up being a miscommunication, but Sheriff Nocco says if it wasn't, the outcome could have been far worse.

“If we’re not on the same page and communicating we’re not gonna be as successful saving our citizens as we would be if we were working together,” said Nocco.

It’s why he reached out to the public hoping they'd rally behind the idea of consolidating the 911 operations in small cities like Zephryhills, Port Richey and New Port Richey with the county to speed up response times.

“They don’t care what uniform shows up,” he said. “They don’t care if it’s a Pasco Sheriff's Office or a municipality, they don’t care they just want somebody to arrive.”

He says recently in Port Richey, a man barricaded himself inside a house. Due to the PCSO and Port Richey not being on the same radio system, Sheriff Nocco says his deputies didn’t find out at the same time.

A similar situation happened on Tuesday in Zephyrhills. A caller reported seeing a person with a gun near Stewart Middle school, but Nocco says they didn’t find out for nine minutes.

“If God forbid something did happen everybody would be questioning what happened in those nine minutes? Why did you not respond? Why wasn’t there a coordinated response?” Nocco said.

Zephyrhills police say they have a “different timeline of events than what was published yesterday” on the Pasco County Sheriff's page. They say they are proud of how their officers responded to the call. But Nocco says the consolidation is working with Dade City.

”The dispatcher can look on a call screen, if a Dade City unit is closer to the call or PCSO is closer to call the first unit goes to the call,” he said.

Port Richey says they are currently installing the Pasco County dispatch system.

“We can assist them, they can assist us,” said Chief Gerard DeCanio.

But, they say they aren’t ready to turn over their operations center because of funding. DeCanio says Sheriff Nocco helps whenever they ask, but says residents are comfortable with their dispatch operators and aren’t ready to hand over that responsibility to the county.

Zephyrhills police officials say regardless they are meeting to discuss what happened Tuesday and their response.