PULLMAN, Wash. — Officials from Washington State University, City of Pullman and Whitman County have approved a three-year contract to jointly support emergency 911 services for the county.

Pullman’s city council members approved the WHITCOM contract Tuesday (July 9) during its regular meeting. WSU officials and Whitman county commissioners voiced their approval at earlier meetings.

The newly approved agreement updates the first contract developed in 1996. The county retains responsibility for the enhanced 911 system located in facilities on the WSU campus in Pullman. Operational expenses are shared among the three. Capital costs are divided among the parties in equal one-third shares

“The agreement assures an excellent level of 911 service to all Whitman County residents,” said Greg Royer, WSU vice president for business affairs. “The three partners are delighted to be able to put together a good system for everyone.”

Located in WSU’s Public Safety Building, the 15-member WHITCOM staff, hired by WSU, handles between 60 and 80 calls daily that require the response of police, fire and ambulance. Some 400 calls are made to the center each day, said Patti VonBargen, Whitman County 911 coordinator and WHITCOM manager.

“The consolidation results in the most efficient and economic use of taxpayer resources,” said Tom Kingen to Pullman City Council members. “It fairly allocates the costs of the sharing arrangement among the parties.”

The operation also allows the entities to obtain grant funding for equipment and other operational cost, not otherwise available if each entity were operating independently.

“Cooperation and understanding among the parties is critical,” Kingen said. The partnership with a county, city and higher education institution is unique.

Whitman County Commissioner Greg Partch told the council that the hours of work during the last year have produced a successful contract.

Representatives of the three entities emphasized the importance of the agreement.

“We all wanted to be sure the operation would benefit all citizens in the county,” said Lori Lamb, associate vice president for Business Affairs at WSU. “We have one of the finest E911 services in the state, and it was important to make this the best agreement possible.”