Reggie Harrison Selected To Lead Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communication

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Department of Disaster Preparedness

Deputy City Manager Reggie Harrison

Deputy City Manager Reggie Harrison will lead the City’s newly created Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications, City Manager Patrick H. West announced Monday. The Department was created by the City Council in the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget to implement the consolidation of emergency communication and dispatch services, and to centralize disaster management and preparedness functions in the City. The Department also plays a key role in coordinating and managing the City’s Homeland Security grant dollars, working closely with Police, Fire and all other City Departments to use those funds to strengthen the City’s preparedness and responsive capabilities.

“For several years, the City has thoroughly studied the consolidation of emergency communications and dispatch, and we are ready to implement the consolidation,” Mr. West said. “Reggie Harrison has proven time and time again his skills in leading complex efforts, and his oversight of this consolidation is critical to its success. We are excited to create this new Department under Reggie Harrison’s leadership to provide more streamlined emergency call taking and dispatch services and an enhanced disaster management focus.”

“I am excited about this new opportunity and challenge,” said Mr. Harrison. “The creation of this new Department will increase the already high level of service we provide to the public. Recent national events emphasize the importance of cities being prepared for and responding to emergencies and the ability of our first responders to communicate with one another, as well as with federal and state personnel, is crucial.”

As Deputy City Manager, Mr. Harrison has coordinated the City’s Homeland Security grant program totaling $9 million dollars annually over the past several years. Through the use of these federal funds, the City purchases new emergency operations equipment, funds training of emergency responders and supports other homeland security needs. He also led the City’s study of wireless 9-1-1 calls in 2008, which resulted in the City directly answering cell phone calls for assistance made within the city limits. Prior to that, those calls were first routed to California Highway Patrol dispatchers who then transferred the calls to Long Beach dispatchers. In both 2005 and 2011, Mr. Harrison led studies of the emergency communications and dispatch center that eventually led to the decision to implement a consolidated dispatch model to achieve greater efficiencies.

Like many cities, Long Beach has separate Police and Fire emergency communications systems, where a call to the center is customarily answered by Police first and then transferred to Fire for medical and fire-related services. The consolidation will eventually result in all emergency communications and dispatch staff being fully trained in answering law enforcement, fire services or medical calls under the leadership of the Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communication, working in close coordination with the Police and Fire Departments. This long-term effort is expected to take many months to complete, as the new Department develops implementation plans for the staffing models, cross trains staff, and proceeds with the final implementation. The Department was created using existing financial resources, and that budget will be formally established in the FY 14 Budget.

Deputy City Manager Reggie Harrison has an extensive history with the City. Reginald “Reggie” Harrison was appointed Deputy City Manager of the City of Long Beach in February 2001. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Harrison served as the City’s Housing Authority Bureau Manager, Economic Development Bureau Manager and Acting Director of the Community Development Department. In 2010, the City Manager appointed him Acting Director of the Planning and Building Department. Mr. Harrison also has the benefit of a 25-year military career; he is a retired Lieutenant Colonel, from the California Army National Guard. Mr. Harrison has a Masters Degree in Business Administration and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. He resides in Long Beach, where he is an active participant in the community and a member of several boards and commissions.

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