Emergency dispatch regionalization answer to costly problem

Regionalizing emergency dispatch services is an idea whose time has come, and we commend those local officials who are getting on bo
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

Regionalizing emergency dispatch services is an idea whose time has come, and we commend those local officials who are getting on board to make it happen.

The opportunity to save taxpayers millions in the future by eliminating the need for every jurisdiction to invest in ever more expensive computer and radio equipment, upgrades, repairs, office space and a host of other related costs make a combined county-wide dispatch service a no-brainer.

That's especially true as local governments all face tightening budgets and leaner staffs.

Sandusky fire Chief Mike Meinzer expressed optimism after meeting with a cross section of law enforcement leaders and fire chiefs from across the county last week.

We understand the effort will require careful planning and even some governmental redistricting to create a dispatch entity that will work, but we are confident that when all is said and done, local jurisdictions will face lower costs in the future and more predictable budget items.

We also continue to support the efforts in Sandusky and Perkins Township, and the work currently underway by a citizens committee exploring the potential cost savings that could be realized by building a combined headquarters for the Sandusky and Perkins Township Police Departments.

A regional dispatch system will require the involvement of these two departments and Sandusky police Chief Kim Nuesse already has said she is considering a plan to utilize the more up-to-date dispatch system currently in place at the Perkins Police Department. It's a move that could save her department hundreds of thousands of dollars in the short term, she said.

That makes it important that the left hand -- the regional dispatch proponents -- keep in touch with the right hand -- the Perkins and Sandusky police -- as plans go forward.

But we have no doubt that regionalizing government services has the greatest potential to reduce costs. We encourage local leaders to work together on plans on the table now, and think hard about other opportunities that might serve to reduce the cost of government.