Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: Study Says Glendale Should Ditch Dispatch Center; but Board Is Holding On

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Messenger: Study Says Glendale Should Ditch Dispatch Center; but Board Is Holding On

Article excerpt

The last paragraph of a recent study on whether Glendale should continue to operate its own police and fire dispatch system doesn't pull many punches.

"Doing nothing to change the current situation in Glendale can potentially have adverse liability consequences for the city," says the September document, prepared by Emergency Services Consulting International. "There have been several studies now that have recommended a change; all of which are in the public domain An error in the dispatch center that has a negative outcome can leave the City open to legal actions. This lends support for a relocation of dispatching services ..."

When Kurt Becker read that report, he figured the city of about 6,000 people tucked between Webster Groves and Kirkwood would finally make the move it had been contemplating for years.

Becker, the vice president of the IAFF Local 2665 firefighters union, had long been pushing for the change, arguing that the understaffed dispatch center doesn't meet various state and national standards, and potentially puts police, firefighters and citizens at risk.

In February, Becker wrote a memo to the city outlining delays on some specific calls and formally asking the city on behalf of the firefighters to contract out with a more professional dispatch center, such as the East Central Dispatch Center that provides service to many of the surrounding municipalities.

One call took two minutes to dispatch, another took three, in both cases delaying necessary medical care.

"The safety issue is profound," Becker says.

In October, he wrote another memo to Mayor Richard Magee and the Board of Aldermen, pointing out that the ESCI study says that contracting out the dispatch center is better operationally and would save the city money.

Last week, he testified at the Glendale Board of Aldermen meeting, and he came away believing that the city still is trying to hold on to its dispatch center. …

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