Progress being made on dispatch

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

Weston County Sheriff Bryan Colvard told the Board of Weston County Commissioners on Nov. 2 that he is happy with the progress he has made in addressing dispatch issues with Newcastle Police Chief Sam Keller. 

Keller told the News Letter Journal that he, Colvard and Upton Police Chief Susan Bridges have been meeting every other week to discuss dispatch protocols and procedures, noting that progress has been made and the group is working for a positive resolution for everyone involved. 

“What we are dealing with are any of the issues that need to be addressed immediately that affect the whole operation,” Colvard said. “We have done a lot with policies already, looking at efficiencies.”

He noted that the adjustments should make things easier for dispatchers, deputies and officers. 

“I am very happy with
the progress we have made. Some of the changes have already been implemented,” Colvard told the commission, adding that there is still lots to be done. 

Keller noted, in a conversation with the News Letter Journal, that the new CAD technology has been installed but is awaiting implementation. He said that part of the reason for the delay is that the city has not yet purchased laptops for patrol cars and that training has not been conducted.  

According to Colvard, once the departments work through issues and develop plans, then the City Council and the Weston County commissioners will need to get involved. In his opinion, he said, the departments should work together to develop the policies before the attorneys and the boards get involved. 

“We would like to write those up (into) something we agree with and then let the attorneys and boards go through that and turn it into a contract,” Colvard said. 

Commissioner Tony Barton, saying that he is speaking for himself and not the board, said that he would like the long-term goal to still be the development of a joint powers board to run dispatch services. 

“I don’t disagree with that,” Colvard said. 

“I have been an advocate for that since day one; those contracts mean nothing,” Colvard added. 

He said that contracts that provide protections for everyone need to be in place.

“Mine (sheriff’s department) might look different than others. It would give us a tool to work through those issues,” he said. 

Colvard reminded the board that it will still be one dispatch center and operations would need to be somewhat similar across all law enforcement departments   to allow dispatchers some consistency in dealing with calls. 

“We have to work towards that at the very minimum,” Colvard said. “Good contracts.” 

Commissioner Nathan Todd told Colvard that although the process is moving in a positive direction, he would still like to see an inventory of dispatch equipment. 

“I know you guys are working hard, but if [negotiations don’t work] … We need to be prepared,” Todd said.  “If things go south, it could get expensive quick.”

As for the dispatch center’s location, Keller said that the relocation of dispatch and the police department is moving forward. To date, the city has bid out the installation of a server room to be installed in the city office. 

 

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