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Posted August 24, 2002 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Dispatchers report to work at Timbrook Public Safety Center

By Kevin Killen - Daily Staff Writer

Winchester 911 dispatchers suffered only minor glitches during their first day at the Timbrook Public Safety Center on Friday, officials said.

The dispatch center is on the second floor of the 33,982-square-foot building, located at 231 E. Piccadilly St.

Also located on the floor are rooms for police use, such as the polygraph room and the roll-call room, as well as offices for criminal investigations.

The emergency communications center, as it is called, is a mixture of older equipment brought in from the old public safety center on Cameron Street, and new state-of-the art equipment, according to Winchester Fire Chief Lynn Miller. “We are really excited, because this building and this center is really special,” he said.

Miller said that the partial system upgrade cost about $225,000, but is well worth it.

Much of the radio equipment has been upgraded, and additional radios channels have been added, he said. “There has been a lot of time and money put into this system, and we are proud of it,” Miller said.

Miller said getting ready for Friday was significant because emergency communications is very important.

He also thanked the county for assisting the city with communications during the move.

On Thursday, dispatchers actually were working across from county dispatchers in the Winchester-Frederick County Joint Judicial Center.

Miller said that went without a hitch.

“We really appreciate all that the county has helped us do during this time,” he said.

Miller also thanked other people and firms who helped with the relocation, including Verizon, which was responsible for dial tone service.

Also instrumental in the move was Shield Technology from Vienna, which helped with the computer service, he said.

Miller said that the building will be good for the community and will also help the downtown area.

“If you are coming off of National Avenue onto Piccadilly, it’s one of the first things you see,” he said. “I think this building will also be very good for the community.”

One of the most impressive parts of the building is the 100-seat community room on the third floor.

The Timbrook center was designed, according to officials, with two key points in mind: Easy access for the public and high security for safety officials.

The Winchester Police Department, which will occupy about 90 percent of the building, will enjoy many necessities it currently does without.

The basement of the new building features two drive-in garage bays. The first will be used for transporting prisoners to the station, thus minimizing the chance of escape by closing the large garage door. The second bay will be used by officers to search confiscated vehicles. In the closed room, officers can dismantle a vehicle piece-by-piece in the search for evidence.

Also, Piccadilly Street has been worked on much of the summer in front of the building to improve the road in and out of the parking lot.

The facility is named for Winchester police Sgt. Ricky L. Timbrook, who was murdered while on duty in 1999.

Miller said that while the building is named for a good person, it comes as a result of a sad event.

However, he is excited about the official opening, which should take place in late September.

“The building is something that everyone in Winchester can feel good about,” he said.

* Contact Kevin Killen at kkillen@nvdaily.com

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