Officials cut the ribbon Monday on the East County Emergency Operations center in Indio.
The center, occupied since February, will serve as the hub for emergency operations and information technology for the eastern Coachella Valley. It is in the county-owned building formerly occupied by the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, before it moved to Thermal, according to Supervisor John Benoit's office.
The center will get audio-visual, video screens and communications systems installed in the next few months.
"It's the most high-tech facility of its kind in Riverside County today," Benoit said.
County Fire Chief John Hawkins said the center will provide emergency preparation, prevention and response, and during a disaster, public safety staff will collect data and "make decisions that protect life and property."
Peter Lent, deputy director of the county's Office of Emergency Services, said the center would also host regular Community Emergency Response Teams, or CERT, trainings.
Telecommunications operations were moved from the basement of the County Administrative Center on Highway 111 and Oasis Street, which is being demolished to make room for a new jail, and a radio tower used by public safety agencies was also moved from the current jail.
Benoit said the old basement flooded sometimes, and it was hard to get cell phone reception.
"So getting out of that basement was hugely important," he said.
The $11.1 million center is part of the $375 million in developments the county is making in Indio, including a new law building next to the Larson Justice Center. Work on the center started in July 2013.
— City News Service.