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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9-1-1 Centers on Chopping Block

       If you are a public employee and any lawmaker mentions the word "efficiencies", duck for cover.  That has become code for "We need you to give more at the office."
       But in this next instance, the giving means more than that.  It means losing your job.
       Rep. Richard LeBlanc (D-Westland) is on a mission to put the state's 9-1-1- emergency call network on a starvation diet.  He wants to reduce the current 166 centers to ten.  That's over a 90% cut.
       This is just a guess but that means some of those operators who are now answering the phone won't be any more.
       Rep. LeBlanc says the person calling for a cop or fire fighter via the 9-1-1- system doesn't give a hoot where the person is who answers the call.  All they want is a quick response and he is confident this can be done with fewer call centers.
       In Grand Rapids and Wyoming over on the west side of the state, they not only combined functions, the two cities saved a combined $1.5 million.  "Absolutely this will work," beams G.R. Mayor George Heartwell.
       It took them two years to iron everything out, but it says it was well worth it and Mr. LeBlanc agrees, but he also knows he is picking a fight with the operators who won't take this "efficiency" stuff lying down.
      Heartwell says during the two year process they did not fill vacancies and when it came time to finish the consolidation there weren't a lot of layoffs. 
      That probably will not appease the operators, but LeBlanc has a strategy to win this fight.  He would take the savings from the "efficiencies" to hire more first responders.  From a political standpoint, lawmakers can get more re-election points back home by hiring more cops even if it means laying off 9-1-1 folks.
      Look for all this to come to a head in the next few weeks.


Blogger rdale said...

Yesterday I called Eaton Co 911 for a incident on the street in front of Delta Center Cemetery. There's no building anywhere near there with an address - I'd love for some dispatcher in Berrien trying to look that one up in the phone book to enter it into their system.

Horrible idea. Anytime someone from the state comes in and says "You locals don't know what you are doing, let us handle it" - RUN. It's all about the state wanting the 911 surcharge funds which they would be able to take from the locals if this gets enacted. Nothing more than that...

September 16, 2011 at 4:05 AM 
Anonymous Angela said...

Wrong. I do care where my dispatcher is calling from. When I'm in need of help, I want to be SURE that the person I'm calling to get help, knows EXACTLY how to get to me. Someone from the other side of the state, will NOT know that.

I don't care how technologically advanced we are nowadays. Without a real knowledge of local roads, construction, buildings, or landmarks, this will put Michigan residents' lives in danger.

September 16, 2011 at 4:58 AM 

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