SNOPAC dispatcher reflects on change

  • Tue Mar 23rd, 2010 10:52pm
  • News

By Jackson Holtz Herald Writer

EVERETT — The executive director of the Snohomish County Police Staff and Auxiliary Service Center has retired.

Tom Howell stepped down on March 5 after more than two decades of service at the center, also called SNOPAC. It’s the emergency dispatch center serving most of north, central and east Snohomish County.

“What do you say after 25 years?” Howell said in an e-mail to his employees. “When I came to SNOPAC in 1985 we had 44 employees, paper dispatch cards, and an antiquated radio system. Now you are entering an entirely new technical world that will make a tremendous change to 911 and Snohomish County.”

Today there are more than 100 employees using sophisticated computer-aided dispatch technology.

“I still get compliments every day from citizens, politicians, leaders and our partners in the field,” Howell said.

The dispatch center was started in 1974. It serves 36 police, fire and other emergency agencies. A separate emergency dispatch center serves south Snohomish County.

Kurt Mills took over for Howell as executive director.

Mills joined SNOPAC a few months ago and has a long history working in emergency communications.

Most recently Mills ran the dispatch service for Rural-Metro Ambulance service out of Mountlake Terrace.

Jackson Holtz: 425-339-3437, jholtz@heraldnet.com.