The Monroe County Control Center is located in Snydersville, just off Rt. 33, across from the Monroe County Correctional Facility. Gary Hoffman, director of communications at the Control Center, started out as a dispatcher in 1978.
"We had three radio channels. Now we have over 40. We had one tower site and now we have 11. As the county grew, the Control Center grew," he says.
The Control Center receives about two million transactions (calls) a year.
The following timeline that shows the history of the Monroe County Control Center:
1959 One dispatcher per shift, handling police and fire calls. General Hospital (now Pocono Medical Center) handles ambulance calls for Stroudsburg Borough. Before radios in police cars, red lights were located on traffic lights on Main Street in Stroudsburg. When a dispatcher received a police call, he flipped a light switch causing the red lights on the traffic light to illuminate. When the officer saw the red light he returned to police headquarters to pick up the information. One of those lights still remains on the corner of 8th and Main streets but hasn't been used since the 1960s when police cars had radios installed.
For a fire, the dispatcher turned on the siren on top of the firehouse.
1975 The boroughs of East Stroudsburg and Stroudsburg and the township of Stroud merged their dispatch services to handle emergency police and fire calls. Dispatchers were located in East Stroudsburg Acme Hose Co. building's second floor. The municipalities formed a board of directors to oversee the operation of the Control Center with two representatives from each of the owner municipalities, which remains the same today. There is a director of communications and a deputy communications director to oversee day-to-day aspects.
1978 The board was approached by other townships and municipalities to contract dispatch services to them. The Center also began dispatching ambulances. Additional dispatchers were added to the busier shifts, normally two per shift.
1982 The Control Center, now with six dispatchers on a shift, moves from cramped quarters to the basement of the Monroe County courthouse. The call volume has increased dramatically as did the countywide population.
1997 Additional personnel space becomes a top priority for county.
1999 Monroe County commissioners develop plans to build a new fire training facility and additional space to expand Control Center. The county finances a new Monroe County Public Safety Center that will house the emergency services training facility and the Monroe County Office of Emergency Services. Funds are derived from a bond issue and a $3.5 million dollar federal grant from Congressman Joseph McDade.
2000 Stroud Township supervisors withdraw from the Control Center.
2001 The Control Center moves to its second story 7,400 sq. ft. new home at 100 Gypsum Rd., Suite 2, Stroudsburg, just off Rt. 33, across from the Monroe County Correctional Facility.
2010 Today there are 46 people employed by the Monroe County Control Center: 29 full time dispatchers; three part-time dispatchers; seven administrative staff; six shift supervisors.
Hoffman is the director of communications, Jeffrey A. Strunk, deputy communications director, Karen S. Barwick, information systems & fiscal administrator, Susan Difilippantonio, training coordinator, Melissa Ace, quality assurance coordinator, John A. Snyder, 9-1-1 addressing systems coordinator and Dawn Tinsman, administrative project assistant, appointed by the board of directors.
The public is welcome to attend monthly board of directors' meetings, held on the last Tuesday of each month at 12 p.m., (except holidays,) in the meeting room of the Monroe County Public Safety Center, located at 100 Gypsum Rd., Suite 2, Snydersville.
Additional information regarding these meeting may be obtained by contacting Hoffman at (570) 992-4500 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Control Center offers free group educational seminars, including a tour of the Operations Center to groups of 25 or fewer, tailored to the age and composition of your group. The tour takes approximately 45 minutes which includes a short explanation of how 9-1-1 works and what information is necessary in a 9-1-1 call. Your group will be able to locate their homes with the mapping systems. If interested, please call (570) 402-8890.