Dispatcher Annie Henderson (left), formerly with the Southgate Police Department, and Officer Gerald Conz keep an eye on the streets of Wyandotte and Southgate from the Downriver Consolidated Dispatch station Wednesday.
By CHRIS JACKETT
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Just more than two weeks into the city’s new Downriver Consolidated Dispatch arrangement, things are going smoothly.
Southgate and Wyandotte combined police dispatch services July 1 and expect Lincoln Park to join the mix by the summer’s end.
“We did start the Consolidated Dispatch on July 1 with only Southgate and Wyandotte active at this time,” Wyandotte Police Chief Daniel Grant said. “So far, things have run smoothly, and we anticipate bringing Lincoln Park into the mix in the near future.
“We’re still not fired up all the way. We didn’t want to just flip the switch and have both (cities) in here.”
The consolidation makes monitoring Southgate and Lincoln Park a task performed in Wyandotte, resulting in about $135,000 in savings per year for Wyandotte alone; $60,000 from supervisory reimbursement and $10,000 from utility and space reimbursement.
The three cities will split expenses based on the number of annual 911 calls to each city. Grant said Wyandotte receives about 20,000 calls yearly, while Lincoln Park receives about 24,000 and Southgate receives about 23,000.
Just as the services have been consolidated, so have the staffs for the cities in order to handle the workload. The three dispatchers from Southgate each retired and were hired on as part-time, entry-level dispatchers by Wyandotte, joining the latter city’s existing staff of five full-time dispatchers.
“They retired and got their full pension. Then we brought them on at entry level,” Grant said. “The difference with Lincoln Park is they have no dispatchers.”
He said his department is looking to hire a few more dispatchers to ensure continuous staffing – with 10 to 12 total – when the DCD is at fully combined.
The DCD also is working to add two more dispatch stations to the existing pair in Wyandotte, making the envisioned central dispatch hub a reality for the three communities.
According to Grant, the modifications to the current Wyandotte system were minor, and the former Southgate dispatchers have adjusted quickly and easily.
“They’ve been doing well,” he said. “We use the same dispatching software. A few adjustments with the monitors and that’s about it.”
(Contact Chris Jackett at [email protected])