The Borough of Wyomissing was one of the first municipalities to operate any type of 24/7 communications center, beginning in the 1960's. The first communication center, known as the "control room", was located in the original Borough Hall at Wyomissing Boulevard and Penn Avenue. The year 1963 was the first full year of operation for both the Borough Police and Borough Fire Departments.
In 1966, the Keystone Fire Company #1 of Shillington contracted to receive dispatching services, followed in 1967 by the Greenfields Fire Company. Additional companies came on to the system in the following years until all of the then 18 fire companies that comprise the West Central Berks Fire Zone #4 were dispatched from "Wyomissing Base".
Police Chief Jacob Weber at the Emergency Center Console in this photograph taken from the 1971 Wyomissing Borough Annual Report Book
When the Borough Hall was moved to its present location in 1975, a "new" radio room was constructed in the basement of the building. In 1991, the Center was physically moved from the basement of the Borough Hall to the 1st floor of the newly built police department annex. At that time a major upgrade of all equipment was undertaken.
The Police and Fire Communications Center that was located in the basement of the Borough Hall from 1974 until 1991. This picture was taken about 2 months before the radio room was moved.
In late 1994, the then current police department administration wanted to disband the operation. The contracts with the fire companies were terminated as of 01/01/1995 and police dispatching was provided on a part-time basis. Two dispatchers were employed to provide 16 hours/day self dispatch. During the other time periods, police dispatching was provided by the Berks County Communications Center. Local phones were forwarded to the County, when no dispatcher was on duty for Wyomissing.
In 1996, the new police administration re-evaluated this set-up. After input from the police officers, current dispatchers, police and Borough administration, and the community, a proposal was made to reopen the center on a full-time “24/7” basis. With approval from the Borough Council, this was accomplished on 01/01/1997. Since that time this Center has provided round-the-clock communications services for the Borough’s residential and business community.
Over the years the dispatchers have played an integral part in the operation of the police department, serving not just as information relay people. This is a key part of the Department’s overall team concept of community policing, and has proven itself extremely effective.
The Department and Borough feel strongly that the Communications Center will continue to be an integral part of the Police and Borough services. To this end, some decisions and purchases are being made now to ensure that the Center is “mechanically” capable of handling the increased workload.