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Danbury/Neighbors May Announce Regional Dispatch

Danbury, Newtown, Brookfield, Ridgefield and Bethel are considering a central dispatch center for public safety to save money, and the announcement could come Tuesay.

For months, officials in Newtown, Danbury, Bethel, Brookfield and Ridgefield have been collaborating on a feasibility study to regionalize police and emergency dispatch.

The plans have apparently reached a point where officials have scheduled a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Danbury to presumably make an announcement.

Officials deferred questions on the subject to that press conference, however, plans on the concept have been in discussion for months now.

Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra also has said at a past Board of Selectmen meeting that the town, along with the other municipalities, were drafting nonbinding letters of intent and had sent two representatives to a joint task force looking into the matter.

If the plans were to proceed, the regional dispatch center would be likely based in Danbury, officials have said. The center also would be considered a trailblazer in the state and the largest regional dispatch in Connecticut.

Newtown officials in dispatch expenses as well open opportunities for better training, advanced technology and other dispatching amenities that would come from collaborating with other towns, rather than separately. The state also has a $250,000 incentive grant that can be used to pay for the center.

Under the plan, the towns would contract dispatch services to a third-party company with expertise in regional centers.

One of the concerns will be whether the town will continue to staff the Newtown police station 24x7 to help residents who walk in needing help and monitor suspects held for court or until they are released on bond. A potential solution may be to create a regional lock-up, officials have said.

law April 04, 2011 at 09:23 PM
I am surprised that the towns would even consider this, no wait, if it is saving Newtown $600,00 a year, that must be why! Does Danbury have to foot the whole bill or will the joining towns carry their fair share of the cost of running the center. That would include the cost of the building and personnel. Will this go to a public hearing before it is set in stone? I have never beeen for regionalization as Danbury seems to end up footing the bill for the smaller towns. Unfair!
Hat City April 10, 2011 at 07:10 PM
So, what is going to happen to the municipal employees that currently serve the city and surrounding towns as dispatchers? I take it the plan is to eventually eliminate those positions. Currently, each town has a minimum staffing level of at least 2 dispatchers, who cover police, fire and EMS. Many times the call volume is high enough or there is a large scale incident, in one town, that those 2 dispatchers can barely handle phone and radio traffic. Is this proposed center really going to have 10 dispatchers on per shift?? Doubtful. This is ultimately reducing manpower while increasing workload, and jeopardizing public safety, as well as police, fire and EMS life safety ... and for what, a few dollars worth in savings??
John McNicholas May 02, 2011 at 03:36 PM
As I see it in Ridgefield, it is a "backdoor" way to take control of the Police Department. The Police Commission has never been conferred with in any consideration of this move. It is highly likely that all towns will not save money. Actually we will al have to hire additional personnel and foot the bill for equipment, leases and ultimately paying someone six figures to run this center. It is a bad idea. It is my experience thatr any time government expands we all end up paying one way or another.

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