Shoreline Towns Consider Regional 911 Call Center

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCConnecticut.com

    Three shoreline communities could soon be putting all their dispatchers under one roof.

    The center would be located at the Waterford Public Safety Complex.

    The question remains: what this will mean for first responders in East Lyme, New London and Waterford, where every minute counts?

    "If it works, it works," said Lindsey Ducheneau of New London, who isn't convinced this regional dispatch system is a good idea.

    Ducheneau feels it will only make response times for emergency crews longer.

    "I heard a story of someone in New London who had called in a 911 for Ocean Avenue in New London and they ended up going to an Ocean Avenue in Niantic," she said.

    Yet New London officials are touting the benefits, which come from a study conducted by the three municipalities: New London, Waterford and East Lyme.

    The study recommends creating a regional communications center at the Waterford Public Safety Complex.

    "The three communities geographically are linked so that responding to police emergencies or every day police issues is going to be greatly enhanced," said Tammy Daugherty, Director of Development and Planning for New London.

    East Lyme police will know what their counterparts in New London are up to. This consolidation could also save the towns more than $60,000 in equipment and maintenance costs.

    "Having a separate entity that is just all about dispatch really professionalizes it, gives a lot of resources to training, provides a career path," Daugherty said.

    "The dispatchers are not against it as long as it's done correctly," said Rich Waselik, President of the Public Works Union, which represents dispatchers.

    Waselik feels it would improve operations for the three towns as far as mutual aid goes.

    But the Waterford complex would need a lot of adjustments before any of this would work. There's also a concern about jobs.

    "Should they lay anybody off as it has happened in the past, you regionalize, someone retires, you don’t hire somebody else," Waselik said.

    In New London, there would no longer be a need for part time staffers. This is something the union said has not yet been negotiated.

    "So you're putting a lot of work into one room…that room has to be properly staffed," said Waselik.

    Right now there are separate centers in each community, paid for by the respective towns. If the regional call center does come together, the New London and East Lyme dispatch centers will be used as back-ups.