Webster City police dispatch vital service to community
To the Editor:
It recently came to the attention of police department personnel that the mayor approached the county about merging. The citizens of WC need to be aware of the services that would be eliminated or drastically changed were this to happen.
The volume of calls handled by the police department alone are significantly more than that of the county. Services currently handled by PD dispatchers such as utility interruptions, water main issues, street problems, trees down, after hour payments, purchase of drug test kits, animal impound fees, unlocks, bad weather announcements, media news releases, report copies, house watches, bicycle registration, etc could be eliminated or reduced.
Public access to the building would be limited to a 40 hour business work week. The building would no longer be used as an emergency shelter in times of inclement weather or a disaster. During electrical outages a dispatcher may answer upwards to 500 calls in one evening. They also keep track of the responding personnel to monitor their safety. This would be handled by a third party company, possibly in another state or country, at an additional cost to the city. Citizens will no longer be able to do business with the PD 24/7.
There would be no back up system when county dispatch goes down. Currently we can depend on one another to monitor services. Removing dispatchers and the dispatch itself would leave the city at a disadvantage should a major event happen.
New LE software was purchased in 2017 due to that in use being antiquated. This was done on a 5 year agreement. It is not compatible to Hamilton County’s software. To make it compatible will cost thousands of dollars at Webster City’s expense. It would be retired prior to being paid for.
Should this occur, the county will be in charge of the operation, the city will not have any representation. Once these services are removed it would be cost prohibitive to get back. The cost savings by combining services is minimal but the loss of jobs and services to Webster City is real.
Rhonda Schulz, Joan Windschitl, Kayce Durnell, Tanner Nowell, Alissa Aronson and Deb Rush,
Webster City Police dispatchers