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East Haven Police Union Has 'Serious Concerns' About New Civilian Dispatcher Program

The new dispatch center will cost taxpayers $1.225 million.

The following is a press statement made by the East Haven Police Union regarding civilian dispatchers being hired at the Police Department. 

Here is their statement:

The East Haven Police Union Local 1662 has some serious concerns about the new civilian dispatcher program that this administration of the Town of East Haven has put forth.

These dispatchers are hired and are being trained as we speak. They have benefits and are being paid.

Question?   Who hired these people? The two hiring bodies, the Police and Fire commissioners did not.  

Question?   Who is paying for this program before it even goes to a public hearing for a vote?

Question?   Why is there hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of electronics already at the police department being installed when again no vote has been taken to pay for this?

Question?   Are the citizens aware that millions of dollars are being spent on this program, and again this administration wants to bond more money to pay for it?

The selling propaganda to the public was that it would put more police officers on the street, and relieve the overtime issue at the police dept. This is untrue.  The overtime was created by this administration because they did not hire officers as they left the police department. This has been over years of this administrations neglect of the police department.  When we are at full staff the overtime will correct itself. Note: full staff is still only replacing what we have lost. I won’t go into numbers; I don’t think the bad guys should know our manpower stats since that would be a safety issue for the officers.

Another untruth is that the civilian dispatch program will put officers on the road. This again is false.  When the union negotiating team asked the Town, “So you will put that dispatch officer on the road?” The Town’s answer was “we cannot commit to that.”  

So the reasons the Town conveyed to the people of East Haven for this very expensive civilian dispatch program was not true.

The Police Union and the Town agreed in 2007 to negotiate the impact within 180 days of implementing civilian dispatchers.  The 180 days came and went, with the Town’s reason being, they felt there is no impact on the officers, so there is nothing to negotiate. This is so far from the truth.  

Meetings have been conducted for several months, planning this program.  These meetings were conducted by high ranking officials from Police and Fire and included Town administrators and finance.  Not one union official from the Police Department of Fire Department was invited to any of these meetings.   

So we have 6 new dispatchers with pay and benefits currently employed and going through training. We have a new dispatch room loaded with all new expensive electronics, and the Town plans on spending millions of dollars to complete this project.

The Town’s administration is now telling the citizens of East Haven to take out another bond to pay for it.  This bond will total $1,225,000.  This was originally going to happen at the Town Council meeting scheduled for July 8, 2014.  This item on the agenda was tabled until next month.  Why?  Now this bond will be considered at the next meeting on 08-08-2014.  This is just days before the dispatch center is scheduled to ‘go live’.  How can the Town Council make an objective decision on whether they believe they should finance over ONE MILLION dollars when all the work is completed and all the employees have been hired?

Give the Police dept. a fraction of that money to hire more police officers and not only will the overtime budget be reduced, we can truly bring this dept. into the 21st century.

In closing, the East Haven police union members of this department have always looked out for the best interest of our citizens.  We urge you to make an informed decision when this is put before you.  Do you want police when you come to or call the police station? You decide.

Please attend the Town Council meeting on 08-08-2014 to ensure you have a voice on where your tax payer dollars are spent.

Robert Nappe, President, East Haven Police Union Local 1662

Tom Coon July 16, 2014 at 11:34 AM
As a resident of East Haven and a 911 Dispatcher for another town I can assure the residents of East Haven that going with civilian dispatchers in one centralized center is the best thing for the town. Having one central dispatch center with trained dispatchers will save time and lives. Let me explain... currently if you are in East Haven and call 911 from your cell phone and need the police dept. you are routed to the nearest cell site. If that cell site is in town you will get a civilian dispatcher at the fire dept. That trained dispatcher will asses what services you need and will transfer your call to the police dept. Now lets say your cell phone hits a Branford,North Branford, New Haven or even the state highway tower? Your call will go to that town or the state police in which the cell site is in. All of those departments listed including the state police are all manned by professional men and women civilian dispatchers. The dispatcher who takes your 911 call then needs to know that you are in East Haven and will transfer your call to East Havens psap. Psap is where 911 calls are answered and for East Haven it is currently at the fire house. That civilian dispatcher will then need to determine if the 911 call is fire or police related. If your call is in need of police you then need to be transferred over to the police department. So as you can see you could be transferred several times. Now if you call 911 from your home phone you will get the fire department dispatcher and he or she will need to transfer your call to the police department. Those calls at the police department are answered by a police officer or a supervisor who is on the desk. With the current plan to make one centralized dispatch center this will eliminate all of those transfers. You will also be talking to a state certified, highly trained emergency civilian dispatcher. These dispatchers are trained to give pre arrival instructions for fire, ems and police. In the department where I work we dispatch all 3 services out of the police department and I can truly say the community is better off having all 3 in one center. I am not sure what the police union is worried about? If its loosing some over time in place of better call times and service to the town so be it. From what I read the proper meetings were held in order to approve this. Did the town plaster all over the newspapers to get our attention?? No. But as a tax payer and citizen of East Haven I think it is a great step in the right direction and nothing but good things will come from it. Thanks for Reading.... T Coon.
eddychase July 16, 2014 at 03:19 PM
Tom.The magic words in your comment is State Certified.I am almost certain that the newly hired are not.GS Sec 28-30.Isn't it also true that a majority of the towns request that their dispatchers have a least a EMT certification?
George Kenyon July 16, 2014 at 03:38 PM
Eddy, new hires have a year under statute to become certified by the state. Criteria must be met before one is eligible. There are also other certifications needed EMD etc. Which only the civilian dispatchers at the 911 center hold.
Tom Coon July 16, 2014 at 04:03 PM
if I am correct they have up to a year to become state certified under the sec 28-30. As for being EMT most towns are backing away from that due to the fact that being a emt does not give you an advantage. Everyone is trained to provide EMD (Emergency Medical Dispatch) which is pre arrival instructions. These are card sets that they must be followed in order to be covered if something were to go wrong.
kevin morann July 23, 2014 at 01:39 PM
Are the police officers certified to be dispatchers ??

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