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Whitefish Bay Agrees to Merged Dispatch Center

Trustees OK $400K in borrowing for first year of operation.

Whitefish Bay village trustees agreed Monday to merge emergency dispatch operations with Bayside, Fox Point and River Hills, and to borrow up to $400,000 for the first year of the merged operation.

Merged police and fire dispatch services, proposed for spring 2012, is expected improve service and save more than $230,000 within the first 10 years of the joint operation, according to estimates provided by Matt Schuenke, interim village manager. 

Expected service improvements include speedier response times, fewer 911 call transfers between dispatch centers and reduced potential for human and technological error. 

Under the current system, emergency cell phone calls first are directed to the Milwaukee County Dispatch Center, then to the North Shore dispatch system, which then dispatches the appropriate police and fire departments. 

A merged dispatch center would direct emergency calls from cellular phones to the dispatch operations in Bayside. 

“The number one reason to do this is service level improvements,” Village Trustee Julie Siegel said.

Whitefish Bay, along with Glendale and Shorewood, is a member of the North Shore Public Safety Commission. Glendale and Shorewood village boards will consider joining the merged dispatch operations at upcoming meetings.

As proposed, the three villages will remain under agreement with the North Shore Public Safety Commission, and the commission will contract directly with Bayside for dispatch services that already include Fox Point and River Hills. 

By merging dispatch services, the village expects to save money by eliminating redundant and expensive technology, and by eliminating staff time costs for payroll, benefits managements, disbursements, deposits, and other administrative functions.

Brown Deer, which operates its own dispatch center, is studying whether it, too, will join the merged dispatch center, which would bring to seven the total number of communities served by the center.

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