Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Problems With Turning Lisbon Dispatch Into a Multi town Dispatch.

At first thought many people may feel that turning Lisbon Dispatch Center into a Multi town dispatch point is a good Idea.  This move should afford the economies of scale that many consolidation’s accomplish and in some financial respects that analysis is true.

The problem arises when common dispatch problems enter into the equation.  The problems of police dispatch are also amplified and these troubles far outweigh any benefit gained by  consolidation.

For those of you not familiar with Emergency dispatching, resources are allocated by the dispatch equivalent of  medical triage.  Resources are dispatched according to a set of guidelines  adopted by the  management of the center. 

 For example: If there is only one patrol officer available in a town and there are several calls for assistance the most life threatening call is dispatched first regardless of the order of incoming calls.The rest of the calls are assigned a dispatch priority and wait in a “Q” (a dispatch limbo)  until someone is available to dispatch them. 

By adding more towns to the dispatch center we are downgrading the response times in our own town thus increasing the potential for problems.
Major problems arise when there are emergencies like power failures, bad weather or a major disaster. During these Emergencies our dispatch will be overburdened with calls and the overworked dispatcher will be unable to handle the calls in a timely manor. This is the dirty little secret of dispatch.

Increasing dispatcher workload increases the chance for  mistakes, and  dispatch mistakes can and do have life threatening consequences.

Dispatchers tend to have a more intimate knowledge of their own town. This lack of local knowledge can be a problem when sending calls to adjacent towns.  The right questions may not be asked due to unfamiliarity of the neighboring towns. 

Do you want to be on the phone waiting for a dispatcher to send a medical unit for your Mother when  he is dispatching Medical assistance to some other town.   Don’t think this doesn’t happen it does quite frequently. And this delay can and does cost lives.

When (not if) a tragedy happens the town and Police will be looking for a scape goat and probably the hardworking dispatcher that was on duty will be blamed for something out of his control. If you could get an honest answer out of our dispatchers they would probably be against this consolidation.  They know they can only do one thing at a time.

And the Coupe de grace that makes this a bad decision is the additional  18,000 we will now be charged as a multi town dispatch.

This is not only a bad decision it could be a life threatening decision.

Joe hill

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