July 14, 2005

County, City To Revisit Dispatching Agreement

A compromise could be in the works between Scotland County and the City of Memphis that could return the two sides to an agreement to share dispatching services for their law enforcement agencies.

The Scotland County Commission sent a proposal to the City of Memphis offering dispatching services for the Memphis Police Department at the cost of $20,000 per year. The proposal called for an annual two-percent increase.

Mayor Mike Stone presented the proposal at the July 7th meeting of the City Council.

I think this is something we ought to look at as it would take a lot of pressure off the employees at the light plant, said Alderman Ron Gardner.

The city currently has the police department dispatched from the office during business hours. After-hour calls are routed to the city water plant, which is manned 24-hours a day. The water plant employee on duty is responsible for dispatching from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m.

I think the way it is right now, we are looking at a huge liability issue, said Alderman William Reckenberg. Those guys have their own work to do at the water plant. Asking them to also dispatch is a big responsibility. All it takes is one serious incident when the worker is away from the radio performing some water-related task, to get us in serious trouble. It might never happen, but is it worth the risk?

The council agreed to schedule a meeting with the commission to discuss the proposal. Members agreed to invite the commissioners to the August council meeting.

The city had paid $15,000 for the service, but balked at a proposed rate increase to $30,000 annually. The two services split back in September of 2004.

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