Press-Republican

Local News

October 3, 2009

Remote dispatching would increase Tupper patrols

TUPPER LAKE — A six-month pilot program would put an extra patrol car on the street in Tupper Lake while dispatching is handled by Franklin County 911 staff.

Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost said remote dispatching would take place only between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. on each Friday, Saturday and Sunday — the times Police Chief Thomas Fee identified as needing the most personnel out on patrol.

The six-month trial would only involve the Tupper Lake Police Department until the bugs are worked out. Then, police departments in Malone and Saranac Lake may be included.

Provost believes the state will someday require his agency to ultimately take over all dispatching duties for the local police agencies.

"Tupper Lake thinks it can save $27,000 to $30,000 a year," said Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake), adding that Sen. Betty Little secured $10,000 for the village to buy the radio equipment needed for the pilot project.

The county would have to hire another per-diem dispatcher to take on the added duties, rather than having the eight full-time dispatchers receive training in case the pilot is not a success, Provost said.

It will also cost the county between $6,000 and $8,000 for the additional radio equipment it would need to handle the extra work, but Legislator Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake) said the investment may be worth it.

"It's a consolidation of government to solve redundancy. It is minimizing training and minimizing expense, just the like the six-month 12-hour shift trial," he said, referring to the work-hour changes the County Legislature approved for dispatchers last year.

"The goal is to make government smaller and less expensive," Burpoe said, adding that town taxes could go down because the county would bear the expense.

He said that if the county can perform dispatching more efficiently and for less money than the villages can, those taxpayers reap the benefit.

E-mail Denise A. Raymo at: draymo@pressrepublican.com

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