Consolidating dispatch police services
“Dispatchers are often able to provide additional direction to officers above and beyond the basic information they received and the Burlington Police officers do not want to lose that.
Without that information, it could be very difficult in some scenarios to provide the same high level of service to its citizens.”Locke, Frank and other supporters of the plan say that call times could be cut by up to 71 seconds, based on a survey of 16,000 calls made statewide in December 2016, and tracking the time between the initial call — when it is answered by a 911 call taker at a PSAP — and when the 911 call taker tells a dispatcher what’s going on.
They say the plan is underdeveloped, the call time savings of a consolidated center are exagerrated and they worry about job security.“We are in pretty serious disagreement with the time savings and how realistic it is,” said Kathryn Clarke, a Burlington dispatcher who is leading the charge against the center.
The Burlington Police Officers Association opposes the plan because the local dispatchers bridge “communication between Burlington Police Officers and those in need of help.”Richard Weinisch, vice president of the association, said Locke has not been able to say how many dispatchers would be “dedicated directly to the citizens of Burlington and the police” in the new dispatch center.”“I assure you it will not increase and will more than likely decrease,” Weinisch said.“From the perspective of the patrol officer, our Burlington dispatchers are extremely knowledgeable of the geography and ‘repeat customers’ that we encounter on a daily basis,” he said.
“There are reasons to believe the savings are true,” Frank said.
Chittenden County dispatchers have been fighting against the plan for months.
You can help shape it, and help shape it to suit your communities’ needs,” Frank said.
The center would be housed at the vacant second floor of the South Burlington Police Station, according to Burlington Fire Chief Steven Locke.“The building is already hardened, protected, it’s got backup power, there’s plenty of IT infrastructure there,” Locke said.
In Chittenden County, there are already several municipal districts like Green Mountain Transit, Champlain Water District and the Chittenden Solid Waste District.Proponents say that a regional center would serve the crucial function of reducing 911 call time by cutting out the second call a 911 call taker needs to make to contact a dispatcher, since both duties would be assumed at the center.It would also allow dispatchers to back each other up.Safety leaders in Chittenden County, including fire and police chiefs, town managers and Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, all support consolidation.The creation of a regional dispatch center has been discussed for 50 years, but it’s only recently that the idea has gained traction. On Sunday, the Burlington Police Officers Association announced its opposition to the plan.
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URLINGTON — Burlington and surrounding towns are looking to consolidate dispatch centers in Chittenden County.