Time will tell

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

The city of Newcastle and Weston County plan to continue to work together to address concerns with dispatch services in the county, as discussed by representatives of the two entities on Sept. 21. 

During the Board of Weston County Commissioners meeting that day, Newcastle Mayor Pam Gualtieri reported that the police department and dispatch would be vacating the Weston County Law Enforcement Center and relocate  to the city offices. She noted that, despite the move, the city would still provide dispatch services for Weston County entities. 

Besides continuing to address the issues that Weston County has expressed regarding services, the county had said it was prepared to move forward with purchasing the Spillman CAD system at a cost exceeding $500,000. The city had originally agreed before learning that their current CIS system offers many of the Spillman features, according to Newcastle Police Chief Sam Keller. 

With the hopes of continuing to move in a direction that provides dispatch services through one entity instead of two, Deputy Dan Fields and Commissioner Don Taylor attended a demonstration of the CIS system. The pair felt that the features demonstrated could address issues the county had with the current system and other entities, although questions remained. 

“Basically, there is a new facelift of the same program and some things implemented previously that we did not know about from the company for years that would have helped,” Fields said. 

“There is a clear lack of communication in my opinion from CIS to the county and probably the city on some
of the available systems,” Taylor added. “They did take some responsibility for that, and we asked for better communication moving forward.” 

According to Fields, systems that were available but that local entities had not used include mobile systems, 911 mapping, and fire reporting. 

“They never reached out to us on the updates, what they have and what is available to us,” Fields said. “We have been doing things in inefficient ways. … There was a lack of communication from the company to the customer.” 

After the concerns were conveyed to the commission, Deputy County Attorney Jeanie Stone suggested that the city and county continue to work together with other entities to address the current problematic state of dispatch services. She noted that if an agreement could not be met, the county is prepared to create its own dispatch service. 

“If you are looking at relocating and having your own space but you are agreeable to providing dispatch services,” Stone said, “are you willing to sit down and discuss the issues the county has in relation to dispatch with the hopes of sorting through those issues?”

When asked if the city was open to discussing the county’s continued concerns, Gualtieri said absolutely but  that there had been no decision made on whether the city was willing to move forward with a joint powers board to oversee dispatch. 

She had previously told the News Letter Journal that concerns expressed by the county could be disputed and that the city council had been present at discussions regarding dispatch for months. 

“Moving forward, hopefully the entities can sit down and hash it out. Time will tell how that will go, whether we can formalize more of a process for addressing issues as they come up,” Stone said.

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