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Category: Middletown City Government
Forum Name: Middletown Courts
Forum Description: Discuss current court cases.
Printed Date: Apr 01 2020 at 6:58am

Posted By: Vivian Moon
Date Posted: Aug 11 2013 at 12:00pm
osted: 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013

Middletown police explore alternate plan for city dispatch

By" rel="nofollow - Michael D. Pitman

Staff Writer


Consolidating Middletown’s police and fire dispatch center with another county agency could help offset a portion of the projected $1 million loss in funding the departments could experience by the end of 2014, city officials say.

The city’s police and fire departments will lose funding by the end of 2014 when two federal staffing grants, valued at a combined $1 million for next year’s budget, expire. That’s why officials are looking at a Plan B for emergency dispatch in case revenues don’t exceed expense projections after next year.

However, Middletown Police Chief David VanArsdale stressed that all the information the city is gathering now on the matter is purely “exploratory.”

“We’re going over the budget to see how things check out,” VanArsdale said. “It’s my intent to keep our dispatch to provide a professional service to the officers and the fire department and the citizens of Middletown.”

One thing the chief does not want to see happen is a significant drop in service to the city.

“This is the only place in the city that has 24-hour access to the public,” he said of the dispatch center. “A lot of times, we’re the only point of contact for the citizens of Middletown.”

The police department is projected to spend around $12.1 million this year — $1.1 million of which is used to pay for the 14 dispatchers, one dispatch supervisor and dispatch equipment.

The loss of funding from the two federal grants that will expire next year will result in potential cuts of up to $1 million in 2015. The police department would likely be required to shave more than $500,000 from its budget and the fire department about $400,000 from its budget, according to the city’s finance department.

City officials say they “can’t afford” to apply for the grants again because of the strings attached to them and staffing restrictions.

An exact amount of how much could be saved with the dispatch consolidation has not yet been determined, VanArsdale said.

The city of Hamilton is at the end of combining its dispatch operations with Butler County’s, which is saving the city just under $490,000 a year in its first year. Payments will increase by 4.76 percent annually through 2018.

VanArsdale received information from dispatch centers operated by the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and West Chester Twp.

“With any kind of change, difficulties arise,” said Anthony Dwyer, Butler County Sheriff’s chief deputy. “If they really want to entertain the option, there’s a lot of leg work to deal with it.”

Dwyer said combining dispatch centers is “a complicated process.”

Issues that would have to be addressed, such as space restrictions, types of computer and operating systems, and dispatch policies and procedures.

“The capabilities are there for any communications center to combine with another,” said Dennis Dick, West Chester Twp.’s communications operations manager. “It will depend on each agency and most (hurdles are) policy and procedure, depending on who it is and if they use plain language or codes and signals.”

Dwyer said because of state cuts and an economy that has struggled to recover since the recession in 2008, “each agency has to look at their own options. With Hamilton, they had to make the decision of what’s in their best interest with fiscal responsibility.”

Dwyer said the state is pushing for more regionalism and consolidation of services, which could mean more consolidation of certain policing services like dispatch.

“We’re drifting that way, but again, it’s up to each jurisdiction what their particular needs are,” he said.

Posted By: Bocephus
Date Posted: Aug 11 2013 at 3:38pm
On the bright side Vivian it would clear up a few hundred thousand bucks a year for the clowns downtown to buy and shore up a few more buildings OMG can someone please run for council that will call these fools out on giving away tax money when we are broke? But most of us seen a "shortage" of safety funds coming a long time ago. Hello council/city manager we are broke please stop spending like you wont be held responsible for it (being sarcastic)

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