Public Safety Communications Center Overview

Fiscal Year 2021/22

Mission Statement

To ensure prompt emergency response for the citizens of Tucson, the Public Safety Communications Department strives to provide effective public safety services through the appropriate dispatch of fire, police, and medical units with the least possible delay. To accomplish this, a highly trained and capable work force is required who will maintain professional standards, through continued education, cost effectiveness, and cooperation both internal and with the surrounding public safety agencies. Public Safety Communication Team members will adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and morality in every action between and with the citizens we serve, and exhibit same with their fellow co-workers.


The following programs are included in this department:

Staffing By Program

*Full Time Equivalent Employee (FTE)

Budget By Program

Department Expenses

Budget By Expense Category

Budget By Funding Source

Significant Changes

The adopted budget for Fiscal Year 2021/22 of $17,228,260 reflects an increase of $2,820,510 from the Fiscal Year 2020/21 Adopted Budget. Major changes include the following:

  • Increase in services mainly due to grant awarded for Arizona 9-1-1 Grant Program by $2,395,210
  • Increase in salary and employee related expenses by $425,300
  • Decrease in COVID-19 disaster relief funding by $275,000


Significant improvement across all aspects and functions of the PSCD have been realized. Improved recruitment and hiring coupled with a decrease in attrition has added stability and has allowed for improved performance metrics. Despite substantial increases in workload, the department has met industry matrix standards for the first time this year. The training division continues to produce solid new performers, while simultaneously cross-training existing forces and commissioned personnel. Commissioned staff have been introduced and are impacting performance matrices. Culture is shifting to a supported and empowered workforce with improved morale.


The department received approval for $150,000 in budget for Behavioral Health Services, completed the purchase of the major components of the construction build out, including major appliances. Rapid SOS, Heads Up Display, Automated Secure Alarm Protocol to Public Safety Answering Point (ASAP to PSAP) alarm response program and Text-to-911 to allow more efficient vetting and management of emergency calls have been implemented.

The department has completed cross-training for all incumbent call-takers, improved employee compensation package, and created a new organizational structure inclusive of Fire, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Law Enforcement representation.

In addition, the Public Safety Communications Center has developed and implemented critical policy, managed workplace environmental controls including the impact of COVID-19 to a stressful and space-limited facility where tele-commute work was not an option, established performance matrices and improved data collection processes. It also improved shift balancing, increased alternative schedule options, and improved the flow of communications within the center by establishing work groups and an employee council.

Future Objectives

The Public Safety Communications Center will need continued enhancement to recruitment and hiring practices (56 open positions remain). Will continue cross-training of new call-takers and will work to increase the number of trained dispatchers and commissioned staff. Team building, policy and structure efforts will remain a priority as the department works towards a truly consolidated center where unity of effort is notable.

The PSCD remodel will enter final stages, with special attention to a live training environment inclusive of all needed technologies (Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD), phone, radio) to allow for improved call management and public safety support. Discussion on a CAD-to-CAD interface with Pima County has begun and work with city and regional partner public safety agencies will continue to increase to allow for seamless management of 911 emergencies.

Workflow challenges will be scrutinized for planned improvements, and consistent review of Criteria Based Dispatching (CBD) will continue. PSCD leadership has engaged IXP Corporation for a full 360* evaluation of workflow, staffing and training needs and will work to implement recommended changes.

The department will require significantly improved IT support to manage the high load of ever-changing technologies that are critical to service delivery. PSCD leadership will create realistic long-term career pathways and will continue to foster and model a positive, professional, and empowered work environment.