ChatComm | A Total Emergency Communications Center Solution

Client: Chattahoochee River 911 Authority | Sandy Springs, GA

The Challenge

IXP began a relationship with the newly incorporated Georgia cities of Johns Creek and Sandy Springs in the metro area north of Atlanta in 2008.  At the time, the cities belonged to the Fulton County Emergency Services E9-1-1 Center. Disappointed with the level of call-taking and dispatch services provided through the county system, the cities made significant efforts to create local services while upgrading the quality, scope, and response to residents. The cities engaged IXP to deliver an assessment of their emergency communications needs that then developed into a total turnkey solution.

Our Approach

IXP assessed the emergency communications needs of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek and developed a business case that explained our approach to solving the challenges associated with governance, operations, technology, and facilities, including efforts to identify potential 9-1-1 revenue. The Authority approved the business case and contracted with IXP to deliver a “Service Level” total outsourcing model that provided a turnkey solution.  IXP designed, built, and implemented the emergency communications center, and then procured and installed all of the technologies required to support the cities’ 9-1-1 call-taking and dispatch needs. Finally, IXP recruited, hired, and trained approximately 65 Telecommunicators and management staff needed to operate the center on a 24/7 basis. IXP accomplished this “ground up” design in six months.
IXP now manages the country’s first fully outsourced private sector 9-1-1 Communications Center, known as ChatComm.  Since that time, two additional new cities in the North Metro area joined ChatComm, which now serves a population of 325,000. IXP provides 9-1-1 call-taking and dispatch services for Sandy Springs and Johns Creek in Fulton County and the cities of Dunwoody and Brookhaven in DeKalb County. IXP operates the Communications Center for all four cities on a full-service level delivery basis. To deliver the required service levels efficiently, IXP uses operational and staffing models tied to the actual workload to determine the needed staff levels at the Center.  Having to live by our own recommendations and produce measurable results for the expanded clients puts IXP in a unique position relative to other consulting operations. 

The Solution

ChatComm is a state-of-the-art Communications Center located in Sandy Springs, GA encompassing approximately 16,000 sq. ft. This space includes the Communications Center, training and meeting space for the four cities, administrative offices, supporting technology and telecommunications rooms, Georgie Crime Information Center (GCIC) support offices for Sandy Springs and Johns Creek, and a city Emergency Operations Center for Sandy Springs. This is the largest known 9-1-1 public-private partnership in the country and provides a compassionate and positive experience for the nearly 400,000 emergency calls residents to place each year. IXP provides dispatching services for four full-service police departments, two fire departments, and EMS dispatching services for two of the four communities. ChatComm is poised strategically to expand the scope of operations to include additional emerging incorporated cities or existing neighboring operations to take advantage of economies of scale.

Some of the efficiencies and service improvements that have come from our managed services delivery method include:

  • A 17% reduction in operational costs between the cities of Sandy Springs and Johns Creek.
  • A 15% reduction in technology implementation costs.
  • The City of Dunwoody improved call response by an average of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
  • The City of Brookhaven has improved call response by nearly 3 minutes in the first few months of joining ChatComm.

The center has achieved and maintained Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) and Emergency Fire Dispatch (EFD) accreditation through the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) and is the only privatized center accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA®) as a Communications Center.

IXP delivered this program in a fixed-price contract over ten years with no increase to the customer and has met or exceeded the performance levels of the contract for every month of operation. We worked closely with the client stakeholders to plan, design, build, furnish, staff, refresh, implement and operate a consolidated 9-1-1 center for the Chattahoochee River 9-1-1 Authority. IXP is negotiating a five-year contract extension to continue staffing and operating the center through August 2024.