City Agrees on Joint Dispatch Terms
Agreement Moves to Police & Fire Commission, County Board for Approval
Left, Stevens Point councilmembers discuss the joint dispatch agreement during a Special Common Council meeting at Lincoln Center Monday night. (City-Times photo)
By Brandi Makuski
City leaders approved an agreement with Portage County for a joint dispatch, which could be implemented in early August.
Movement on the issue was long overdue according to Mayor Andrew Halverson, who called the decision “historic” after several months of committee meetings yielded no decision.
The current agreement isn’t final until approved by the Police and Fire Commission and County Board, both groups which have vocally supported the concept in the past. Now that city leaders have agreed to terms, the two groups need to vote , the City Council will vote on the agreement. Halverson said the measure could come before the City Council in either May or June.
The agreement calls for a transfer a levy capacity of $552k from the city to Portage County in exchange for county officials running the new joint dispatch center, which will be located in the newly- remodeled dispatch office inside the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.
“This is a historic day for all of us,” said Halverson Monday night. “From our perspective, when you lay out issues like staffing deficiencies, where we can go from one dispatcher available to possibly three or more at all times, it makes sense to start as early as we can.”
Currently the city dispatch is overseen by the Stevens Point Emergency Management Director Sally McGinty.
When asked how her job would change under a joint dispatch, McGinty only said, “That remains to be seen.”