By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The City Council on May 9 authorized the mayor to execute a contract with the city of Melvindale to provide dispatch services.
Councilman Thomas Tafelski was the only council member to vote against the resolution which passed 6-1.
The contract will provide Melvindale with free dispatch services for the first five years at a cost of $150,000 per year to Dearborn. After the five years, Melvindale will be responsible for paying annually for services.
Melvindale will also join the statewide required 800 mega hertz system.
Discussions between Dearborn and Melvindale began in 2014 and shortly after Dearborn applied for a $3.2 million state grant. Dearborn being awarded the grant depended on one other community joining the dispatch center plans.
The Melvindale City Council on April 19 authorized its mayor to execute a contract with the city of Dearborn regarding the center.
Dearborn Heights is still in talks to join the center along with Garden City, Inkster, Wayne and Westland. In the future, Tafelski said that there will be an opportunity to expand past the two current cities currently planned to be involved.
“I believe we need a new dispatch center,” Tafelski said. “It’s a win-win for both communities, but we were the lead agency and we should have negotiated a better deal for residents of Dearborn.”
He also said he is concerned if other cities want to join the dispatch center that they would also want free services.
The 500-square-foot Dearborn dispatch center is on the second floor of the police station. A new 5,400-square-foot area inside the Dearborn Administrative Center will be the new home for the new consolidated dispatch center.
Dearborn will switch from its current 400-megahertz system to an 800-megahertz system in order to be on the same system as other cities for communication.
A radio system, voice recorder, 911 telephone system and radio logger also will be purchased under the agreement.
“We have a problem on the road with our police officers with their radios used to communicate,” Dearborn Councilman David Bazzy said. “The fact that we can outfit all of our officers and Melvindale’s as well to get them on the same system is a positive step.”
Bazzy also said the consolidated dispatch centers are the future and Councilman Michael Sareini agreed, saying it will be a major upgrade.
“I drove to the dispatch center in Madison Heights with a councilman from another city and it is a huge upgrade,” Sareini said. “I watched how calls come in and I thought it was a tremendous advanced way of doing it and I know it was a major center.”
There is a planned total of 38 full-time dispatchers answering 911 and non-emergency phone calls.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)