MONTROSE, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- Starting Thursday morning, if you have to call 911 in the Montrose area, whether you're in the county or the city, your call will go to the same place.
"Since I became a county commissioner, I always wanted to see the dispatch centers come back together because it’s an officer safety issue and a public safety issue," Keith Caddy, a Montrose County commissioner, said.
Prior to Thursday, people out of city limits, in Montrose County, Nucla or Ouray, were routed to the Montrose County Sheriff's office dispatch.
If you were in city limits, you were sent to WestCO dispatch in the police department.
The problem is, that made it harder for dispatchers to get callers to the right place, and made communication between the departments pretty difficult.
"Time, a lot of times, is very critical in a very hazardous situation, a dangerous situation, and it might lend itself to injury of an officer or injury to somebody in the community," Caddy said.
Now, WestCO dispatch will run all communications for the Montrose area.
"Having one dispatch center helps organizations, for instance, the Montrose Fire Department, where the law jurisdiction and the fire-EMS jurisdictions overlap," Mandy Stollsteimer, executive director for WestCO dispatch, said. "Instead of having to possibly transfer a caller from one center to the other, we can process that call from one center."
And it's helping mend a years-old disconnect between the sheriff's office and the police department.
"Years ago they lost a lot of collaboration between the City of Montrose and County of Montrose and some of the other entities," Caddy said.