Consolidating Merced County dispatch services

February 7, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Some North Valley leaders are considering a plan to consolidate local police and fire dispatchers.

The Merced County Association of Governments says the change could cut operating costs by $1 million each year.

MCAG believes consolidating could also improve efficiency and response times. But some local police chiefs say their cities can't afford the initial or recurring costs. And they're concerned about having to replace dispatchers who also fill many other roles for the departments.

"Dispatchers don't just dispatch alone," Los Banos Police Chief Gary Brizzee said. "They do help in records management, they do data entry, we have a 20 person jail that they assist in the jail."

"We're looking at various funding options to help get over that hump," Marjorie Kirn said. "We can look at consolidating some of the equipment we are using today, so it may not be as bad as they may think."

MCAG is still gathering information. Officials say if the plan moves forward, each agency would have the option to consolidate or not.


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