By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – The city’s police department merged dispatch services with Dearborn April 5, freeing a Melvindale officer for patrol duty and saving the city money, Lt. Dan Jones told city officials.
Speaking at the April 4 City Council meeting in Police Chief John Allen’s absence, Jones said there would be no emergency call service interruption, and 911 calls would be routed automatically to the Dearborn Dispatch Center. He said AT&T was scheduled to officially transfer over all of the lines by noon.
As part of the elimination of a police officer on site at the Melvindale Police Station, Jones said if all goes according to schedule, at 4 p.m. April 5 Melvindale would also begin utilizing the Dearborn jail facility.
“We are on track, everything’s looking good,” Jones said. “The city of Dearborn’s IT has been phenomenal. They have been coming over here and helping us with everything. They are a big reason why we are on track. It is greatly appreciated all the effort they have put in.”
Jones stressed that there will be no change in the daily patrol operations, and Melvindale police officers will continue to patrol the city as before, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
“Melvindale officers will be responding to your house,” Jones said. “The only change is that Dearborn is receiving the calls.”
The detectives, patrol operations and other functions remain the same, Jones said.
“There is no decrease in service,” Jones said. “In fact, when we close the lobby during those hours, the supervisor that would be on the desk, dispatching calls, is now going to be on the road patrol, which is going to save money for overtime, but it is going to put additional officers on the road.”
Jones said if an emergency should occur at DTE, Marathon or another site in the city, having Dearborn’s dispatch answer all of the 911 calls would offer a distinct advantage, because in the past, the Melvindale police front desk was always a one-officer operation.
“When numerous phone calls come in, you just can’t handle them,” Jones said. “You are talking to people, and you’ve got 15 people on hold wanting to tell you the same thing or additional information, and maybe a totally different incident.
“Now you will have multiple dispatchers able to handle that call load, so it is definitely a benefit to the citizens, because they will have more routes of communication, they will be able to receive the information that people are trying to get to them, and in turn, get to us, so we can respond.”
Jones confirmed that the dispatch merger will result in a more efficient use of city resources.
“The 911 system is state-of-the-art,” Jones said. “You can’t get any better equipment. It is a win-win situation for everybody. It is a money-saver for the city, you get additional officers to help the citizens on the street.”
Jones said it will take a little time to implement, but he believes it will work out well.
To reach the Melvindale Police Department by phone for non-emergency matters, call 313-429-1070 and follow the prompts.
Melvindale Police Department lobby hours will be the same as City Hall: 8:30 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, and closed weekends and holidays.
When the police lobby is closed, a call box, located outside of the entrance to the Melvindale Police Department and City Hall, 3100 Oakwood Blvd., will connect users directly to the Dearborn Dispatch Center. Upon request, patrol officers can be dispatched to the call box site.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)