Economies of scale: 9-1-1 center consolidation as a means to strengthen the homeland security enterprise
Womack, Trevor W., Sr.
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Since the Great Recession, local governments have been under pressure to cut programs, personnel, and services due to decreased tax revenues and a weak economic recovery. As a result, government agencies, aiming to do more with less, have consolidated services, including those of local 9-1-1 dispatch centers. This thesis explores whether 9-1-1 center consolidation has been successful thus far. Through a multiple case-study approach, the effects of consolidation upon cost efficiency, service levels, and organizational structure are examined. Primary data were gathered from semi-structured interviews with executives of three consolidated 9-1-1 centers. Secondary data were obtained from related budget documents, published reports, emergency call and response statistics, staffing rosters, organizational charts, and intergovernmental agreements. This mixture of qualitative and quantitative data was analyzed to identify individual first-order concepts, generalized into patterns, and synthesized into overarching dimensions. The key findings suggest that the consolidation of 9-1-1 centers can result in increased cost efficiency through economies of scale; regionally, 9-1-1 center consolidation may standardize and raise the quality of service provided across disciplines and jurisdictions; and in the near-term, organizational behavior issues present challenges for the newly consolidated 9-1-1 center
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