Efforts to bolster the consolidation of 911 services have led Buncombe County to creating its inaugural Public Safety Communications Director position. Building on last year’s commitment to improve public safety by consolidating dispatch services across the county, this crucial position will help finalize the transition while forging an innovative path forward. The first-ever Public Safety Communications Director will be Derrick Ruble, who brings an impressive professional resume to the table with 33 years of experience in public safety and government operations. “Derrick not only holds highly relevant certifications and professional affiliations, but most importantly he demonstrated extensive experience as a Public Safety Communications (911) Director serving in a comparable consolidated center,” explains Assistant County Manager DK Wesley. “He also has a clear understanding of the leadership and collaboration with stakeholders that is needed to manage a newly consolidated center, while engaging staff and putting the safety of all Buncombe County residents first.”
During his tenure in public safety, Ruble has worked in multiple roles while rising through the ranks giving him a holistic understanding of the industry. He says this position shows the County has a forward-thinking and proactive approach to public safety, and he’s ready to immerse himself in the community and build rapport with staff. “My short-term goals will be [conducting] an in-depth evaluation of existing infrastructure, meeting with the leadership of the agencies we serve, and addressing the recruitment of qualified applicants to ensure a successful team approach to providing critical services to the residents of Buncombe County,” says Ruble. “Long-term goals will be finalizing the consolidation of the 911 call center, creation of a capital improvement plan, and having the organization recognized as a leading implementer of new technologies and services to better assist those we serve.”
Buncombe County is excited about this innovative step forward in public safety and looking forward to Ruble’s leadership in this vital role for our community. His first day will be April 11.
Derrick Ruble’s professional biography
Derrick Ruble was raised in Tazewell County, VA and began his career in public safety and service as an EMT with the local volunteer rescue squad while a senior in high school. Immediately after graduation, he served on active duty with the U.S. Army, and upon returning home he served in various volunteer and paid positions with local rescue squads, an ambulance service, and his hometown volunteer fire department where he served 28 years.
Derrick was an inaugural employee with the first 911 centers in Mercer County, WV and Tazewell County before becoming the Zoning Administrator & Environmental Technician for the Town of Bluefield, VA in 1997. After two back-to-back major flood events in 2001, he obtained grant funding and managed the buyout and relocation of the town hall, fire station, four businesses, an apartment building, and a small neighborhood that experienced frequent flooding.
In 2009, Derrick was appointed by the Tazewell County Sheriff as the Director of 911 & Emergency Communications that served 39 public safety agencies and was able to obtain over $4.1 million in grant funding for local and regional public safety communication projects. He left Virginia in 2019 to become the inaugural 911 Operations Manager for a newly formed regional 911 Center in Williston, ND (an area recognized as the fastest growing micropolitan area in the U.S. over the past decade). Derrick was part of the team that managed the simultaneous design and construction of both the new and backup 911 call centers.
Derrick has served on numerous local, regional, state, and national level committees and workgroups addressing a wealth of public safety issues and was recognized for his work by being named the 2014 Virginia PSAP Director of the Year. He has an Associate Degree in Environmental Management, a graduate of the Southwest Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy Professional Leadership Academy, a Career Studies Certificate in Law Enforcement Management and Supervision, and numerous certifications along with training in most aspects of public safety.