Consolidating dispatch police services

A small municipality may be able to slash a full-time director position and one or two assistant directors by integrating with another comm. “With so many agencies being tri-centers (that take medical, fire, and police calls) they typically can cover more calls with less funding,” he said.“If the agency is not yet a tri-center, there are almost no detriments to co-location, and in these situations it’s likely to continue because it makes sense.” At the same time, a feasibility study may indicate that a good chunk of the potential financial savings of a merger might be offset by the necessity to hire supervisors for the new center, contract fees, or the lost investment of protocols and training that may not be used at the new consolidated center, Messinger said.

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“It’s now technologically feasible that an entire state could decide to consolidate all of its PSAPs into one statewide 9-1-1 call center.” Costs versus benefits Cities’ and counties’ increasing public safety costs juxtaposed against an era of slowing revenues has left many agencies and jurisdictions with no choice but to consider the viability of comm. In many states, legislation to modify existing tax revenue structures to be based on the number of cellphone lines instead of on the previous benchmark—the number of landlines—has failed, leaving agencies with funding shortages while cellphone 9-1-1 calls are on the increase. Moreover, it’s estimated that some 25 to 60 percent of all calls received by PSAPs come from wireless phones, according to the CSRIC report.

“The biggest driver of consolidations is more people making 9-1-1 calls by cellphone than by landline,” Dornseif said.

centers to cover multiple jurisdictions, counties, and regions. The FCC formed the CSRIC group to advise it on issues related to the dispatch center consolidation process.

“(Consolidation) has been a clear trend over the last 20 years. The result has been greater economies of scale, more efficient use of resources, and improved interoperability,” stated the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC) Working Group 1A in its October 2010 final report to the U. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is onboard with the idea.

Though most experience an increase in the quality of service as a result of consolidation, the reverse can also happen.

But Messinger and Dornseif said those particulars should be fleshed out in a thorough feasibility study.“Now more than ever, a caller stands a better chance of being bounced between (nonconsolidated) centers during transfers than by a center that’s a one-stop-shop.” That’s left jurisdictions scrambling to come up with budgets to cover staffing increases and technology upgrade costs to cover the spike in call volumes while still providing a high level of service to residents.“The convergence of technical systems when combined with the escalating costs of maintaining those systems makes consolidation a serious consideration for decision makers,” the CSRIC report states. But at the same time, consolidation must be considered on a case-by-case basis; the cost savings and benefits may vary greatly based on each individual situation.“The consolidation process poses numerous challenges, however, from operation, governance, funding, and technical perspectives,” CSRIC also states in its final report, Key Findings and Effective Practices for Public Safety Consolidation.The following sections will look at both the advantages and disadvantages of consolidation and identify ways with which agencies and jurisdictions can analyze how consolidation might specifically benefit them rather than asking public safety officials and decision makers to simply take a leap of faith.But more recent advances in modern communications have made everything from backroom centralizations to full on regional consolidations possible.


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