"We've looked kind of at some of the big picture issues and now we're getting down into closer to finalize cost, location, you know, what that would look like and what that would entail as we consider going into joint dispatch."
-Jim Willox, Converse County Commission Chairman
Three dispatch centers in Converse County have been considering joining the three into one consolidated dispatch center.
The three communication centers joining would be the Douglas Police Department, Douglas Sheriff's Office and Glenrock Police Department. The project is still in it's early stages, but the plan would benefit all of Converse County.
Jim Willox, the Converse County Commission Chairman says, "we've looked kind of at some of the big picture issues and now we're getting down into closer to finalize cost, location, you know, what that would look like and what that would entail as we consider going into joint dispatch."
While serving small communities, the dispatchers will have to overcome a few obstacles
"So, one of the challenges we're looking at is what jobs and what resources would have to be backfilled if we take the dispatchers out and make them truly just a dispatch center."
Though many say the benefits of having a joint dispatch outweigh the negatives.
Willox says, "I also believe that if you happen to have a mass event, to have that consolidation of knowledge and resources in one place is good."
"The equipment that we currently have needs to be upgraded, you know, kind of in basically the next 18 months to 2 years," says Willox. "And so that's the timeframe that we need to do something."
All three communication centers have agreed, no jobs will be eliminated, even if they're overstaffed with a joint dispatch center.
Tom Sweet, Glenrock Chief of Police says, "for a joint communications center, we would need pretty close to the same number of employees we have right now. If it's necessary to cut back on those jobs, we'll do it through attrition."
All in all, law enforcement authorities believe having a joint dispatch center would benefit all people in Converse County.
Willox says "I believe, particularly, that consolidating that can provide the public with better service. We have good service now, but we can improve it by consolidating."
Current progress on the new dispatch center is still in its early stages and the commission has yet decided on a location...
But they've had a few companies analyze the three current dispatch centers in terms of what resources the new facility would need.
It's too early to give an estimate of what the new dispatch center would cost, but the funding will primarily come from the dispatch budget and SLIB consensus money.
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