Sunday, February 14, 2010

McHenry Police dispatching 2 B outsourced?

Today's Northwest Herald spotlights the plight of 9.5 dispatchers at the McHenry Police Department who are worried about their employment security.

And they aren't taking it lying down. Check out the page on; search for "McHenry Police Dispatchers". As of this moment the page has 531 fans!

I had to chuckle at the remark by McHenry's City Administrator, Doug Maxeiner. "He said he thought the Facebook page was premature, since no decision has been made on the issue."

What? The dispatchers are supposed to sit back and wait for the decision to outsource the center??? Anybody - everybody - knows it's too late then!

Local dispatchers not only know the officers, they know the roads, call history at a business or residence and have a personal investment in the operation.

Just "whose" new regulations require police departments to be able to receive text messages? Yes, it's probably a good idea, but should it require massive shuffling of operations at police departments? I guess if I am locked in someone's trunk and all I can do is text, I'd like the PD to be able to read it. (OK, don't get any ideas, guys.)

Sometimes you have to worry about "trends" in law enforcement, because they are going to drive up costs; ex., MARV, every department wanting to have its own drug dog or SWAT team, mobile command centers, and other big-city equipment.

One (1) mobile command center available to any agency in a county would probably be adequate. How often are they used? Once a year? Maybe?

Check out the Facebook page for the McHenry dispatchers. They are making sure that their voices are heard.


Notawannabee said...

Centralized dispatching is more cost effective and just because the dispatchers are local means nothing. Now the dispatch centers are computerized and the call information is at their fingertips. It is far better to have centralized services and I'll give you a big reason why. Everything about the location shows on the PC screen.

Under Illinois law (ICC) and under the Medical Guidelines, if a dispatch center handles ambulance or rescue, the dispatchers MUST be certified in providing Emergency Arrival Instructions. In a small dispatch center it is likely that only one or two dispatchers are on duty at a time. If there is only one or two dispatchers and they get tied up on the phone providing emergency assistance, what happens when more emergencies come in? It’s not like they can put a distressed caller on hold.

Many things affect what a dispatch center must have. ADA requires that the 911 call be able to be handled via telephone TEXT. Ever wonder how a hearing impaired person calls 911? Many new requirements create added costs.

New technolgy required new equipment to give GPS of Cell callers. It is better to have this cost paid ONCE than by every community.

You said ["Local dispatchers not only know the officers, they know the roads, call history at a business or residence and have a personal investment in the operation."]

Couldn't be more wrong Gus. In larger centers, overloads and high call volume are covered. They plan for the overload. The day of the dispatchers knowing the town is long gone. Look at most area counties and you’ll see that there is Centralized dispatching. Winnebago County and Boone County are prime examples. McHenry CO has more dispatch centers per capita than any other area county.

Local disptchers?? McHenry CO Sheriff handles towns and areas far away from Woodstock, yet their dispatchers are some of the best. The Sheriff’s Web Page indicates they dispatch for 9 towns and all the Sheriff’s Police. They also dispatch for 4 Fire Agencies and provide pre-arrival instructions. Hardly local.

SECOM is in Crystal Lake yet they handle Cary and Algonquin. I believe FRG is dispatched by LITH, as is Huntley. Hardly local.

With CAD (Computer Added Dispatch) it is better to have a Centralized system. More efficient and better serves the public. Of course the dispatchers will scream as it affects them personally if they don’t land a job at whomever takes over their Central Dispatch Service.

Richard said...

Gus, as with all government, McHenry City will try to turn off the dripping faucet of waste while another is running full blast.
An independent body made up of un-paid citizens should audit all government agencies; talk to the workers and really fix the wasteful spending.
This would save jobs but at the same time bring to light the real, incredible waste that is hidden from view.

Richard said...

Notawannabe makes good points. But remember that McHenry County is switching again to another computer system.
Centralized systems do not always save money and are not always the best alternative. I would not be so cavalier when it comes to cutting jobs; especially in this economy.

Support the police said...

Notawannabe- yet again you have made a very good argument with good points. I definitely agree with you. Having worked for both sheriff and fire I know how valuble a good dispatcher can be. And McHenry county does a great job, as do some of the smaller towns as well. I'm not 100 percent sure who you are but I have a feeling i know you. Keep up the good work. Oh, and i definitely agree with you that a centralized dispatch center is the way to go.

Mike said...

Too often it's not a matter of practicality or efficiency, it's a question of not wanting to give up "turf." Think not? Ask yourself why the "twin cities" of Cary-Fox River Grove or Algonquin-LITH are using different centers? Even prior to implementation of 9-1-1 dispatch centers, FRG was dispatched by Crystal Lake and Cary had their own dispatch center. Why? Now we see many communities being dispatched by "remote control" and doing just fine. The only real difference is they collectively have a better dispatch center, better trained personnel, only one basket of HR problems, etc. I truly believe the arguments against central dispatch are all about control. Even you, Gus, when arguing about the lack of need for multiple MARV's, command centers, etc. should be able to see that. The key to implementing a single dispatch center or PSAP is making sure that there is equal representation on the governing board so that everyone has a voice. Once that's in place, it's just a matter of egos to deal with. Will jobs be lost? Certainly! That's what happens when you actually streamline an operation and increase its efficiency. What should they do? Adopt the railroad union's old rules and keep the RIF'd dispatchers on hand as "firemen?" Lock them in a room "just in case" and keep paying them? These are the tough decisions our leaders SHOULD have been making all along. Why the hell can't we run efficiently? Because we (the pols) don't have the guts to make the hard calls. Bravo to McHenry for trying to do the right thing.

Gus said...

Mike, I'm waiting for cabooses to make a comeback.

GusFanNotASupporter said...

I respect you and believe you are a good, courageous man. You are a far better man than Nygren. You have given us a forum to post our thoughts without fear of retaliation. You have told the stories that have been covered up for so long. You have made a difference.
That being said, I think you are going to help Nygren remain in office. Based soley on the numbers Mahon has a chance to beat Nygren. Everyone knew Zane would never be able to match Nygren money wise. Zane managed to do a lot of damage with no experience and very little time and money. I think your going to spoil that.
The people that voted for Zane are dedicated to getting Nygren out. They want a winner. Mahon already has twice the money Zane had. You don't have any. Mahon received almost 8000 votes. Zane received almost 8000 votes. 3000 people refused to vote for Zane or Nygren. You received under 200 votes. 19,000 people voted against Nygren. He can be beat. Not by you though.
We need a new Sheriff, Gus. I know the last thing you want to do is be a spoiler. You want Nygren out as bad as we do. Think about how you will feel if you are the reason Nygren gets re-elected. Help us as yu always have. Spread the truth, show Nygren for what he is and let Mahon run a 1 on 1 campaign.
We are already getting rid of US Lowery. Cundiff is on the way out. So is Sheperd. The train is rolling, don't derail it.