Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency
WCCCA (wă-kŭ) was formed in 1985, under the authority of Oregon Revised Statues (ORS) 190 by the execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement originally between Washington County and the cities of Beaverton, Cornelius, Hillsboro, North Plains, and Washington County Rural Fire Protection Districts Nos. 1 (now Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, TVF&R), and 2. WCCCA subsequently entered into intergovernmental agreements with the cities of Banks, Durham, Forest Grove, King City, Sherwood, Tigard, Gaston, and Tualatin. Subsequent Fire Districts joining the agency are Banks, Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Gaston.
WCCCA was established to provide 9-1-1 service and public safety communications for police, fire, and emergency medical service for the participating jurisdictions and for other governments under contract. That means that if you live in any part of Washington County, including the cities of Banks, Beaverton, Cornelius, Durham, Forest Grove, Gaston, Hillsboro, King City, North Plains, Sherwood, Tigard, or Tualatin, and you call 9-1-1, WCCCA will answer your phone call. WCCCA dispatches all calls for police, fire, or medical assistance to the citizens of these cities and the unincorporated areas in Washington County, Oregon. WCCCA also handles fire and medical calls in TVF&R’s service area that are outside of Washington County (Wilsonville, West Linn, and Newberg).
Prior to WCCCA, Washington County public safety dispatching had existed since October of 1973 when the first civilian dispatchers were hired. Having civilian dispatchers, freed police officers and fire fighters to respond to calls rather than stay behind to answer phones and monitor radios. From 1973 to 1985, the Center served as the communications center for the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the cities of Cornelius, Banks, Hillsboro, and Gaston as well as Washington County Fire District 2, the City of Hillsboro Fire Dept., Cornelius Rural Fire Dept., and Banks Fire Department.
In the years following the switch to civilian dispatchers, a demand started to grow for all Oregon residents to have access to 9-1-1. In order to better facilitate this trend, there was a move toward the establishment of central answering points for 9-1-1 calls. As this was occurring, more and more police and fire departments were doing away with their individual dispatch facilities and merging with the Central Dispatch Center. Thus in 1985 WCCCA was "born" and became a consolidated dispatch center. In 1973 our staff consisted of 8 full time dispatchers; WCCCA now has a staff of over 65 full time dispatchers.
In 1990 the citizens of Washington County passed a serial levy which allowed a major upgrade in the County's 9-1-1 system. Due to the support of our citizens for the levy, WCCCA was able to acquire a building large enough to house our current operation, become computerized by installing a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system, upgrade the county wide radio system and become an enhanced 9-1-1 center. An enhanced 9-1-1 Center is one that can display the caller’s phone number automatically (ANI=Automatic Number Information) and the location of the calling number (ALI-Automatic Location Information).
In May of 2016 the citizens of Washington County passed a $77 million General Obligation Bond to upgrade the County’s emergency communication radio system and our facility. More information on the bond can be located here: http://wcemergencycommunications.blogspot.com/
In August of 2016 WCCCA started accepting text messages sent to “911”. This service is designed to assist citizens that are unable to hear or speak during an emergency, such as persons that are hard of hearing, have speech impediments or are otherwise unable to make a voice call due to safety or connectivity reasons. Our slogan is, “Call if you Can, Text if you Can’t”. For additional information on text-to-911 in our region, please go to our regional website on the topic: http://nwtext911.info
WCCCA operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, answering 9-1-1 and non-emergency calls from residents of Washington County and dispatches for 10 police agencies and 6 fire agencies. The Agency’s service area is 824 square miles and our service population is 609,235. The Agency's population has experienced considerable growth over the past 10 years and continued growth is expected.
WCCCA is governed by a Board of Commissioners consisting of one appointed official from each participating jurisdiction. The Board is responsible for appointing the Agency Director, establishment of Agency service levels, adoption of the annual budget, financial audit, and personnel rules. A Chief Executive Officers Board consisting of the Chair of the Board of Commissioners, the representatives of the two largest participating agencies and two at-large members appointed by the Board meet monthly to address more timely issues, including policy changes, purchasing issues, and labor negotiations.
As an ORS 190 organization, user fees from the participating jurisdictions, State 9-1-1 excise taxes, and contract revenues from several non-emergent users fund the Agency. In addition, the Agency provides radio and data infrastructure for Yamhill and Clackamas Counties through unique partnership arrangements.
The Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency has come a long way since 1973, both in technology and dispatching as a profession. Oregon now has in place a law that requires all emergency dispatchers in the State, as of July 1994, to be certified the same as a police officer or a fire fighter. The training process for a 9-1-1 Telecommunicator (dispatcher) is a lengthy one. A Dispatcher Trainee attends a 3-4-week in house academy and a 2-week state academy. The Trainee is then assigned to a coach, one-on-one, and remains with a coach for approximately 8 to 12 months, on average. Each trainee will learn how to answer phones, work police radios and perform emergency medical dispatching (EMD). EMD is the process that allows the dispatcher to assist the caller with medical instructions to care for a patient until paramedics can arrive.
WCCCA is run by a dedicated staff of over 90 employees who are organized into the following departments: Administration, Operations, Performance Management and Logistics.