Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas is calling for the City of Waukesha to conduct an independent feasibility study on the possibility of joining the Waukesha County Communications Center in wake of a memo from the police chief that criticizes dispatch management and recommends against closing the city’s dispatch center.
Vrakas was invited to give a presentation on the county’s dispatch center April 17 as the Waukesha Common Council looks to see if it wants to join the county’s system as a cost-saving measure. He declined that invitation in a letter to Mayor Jeff Scrima.
“I would not want my appearance before the City Council to create the impression that Waukesha County is making a ‘sales pitch’ for the city to join WCC,” said Vrakas in the letter. “We are not looking for clients or customers. We are looking for willing partners in public safety. Any new partner must demonstrate agreement between its mayor, council and police and fire chief that joining the WCC is the right fit for their city and taxpayers.”
The Common Council is reviewing the possibility of joint dispatch as it looks for ways to trim money out of its tight budgets. The 2012 budget has reduced officer and firefighter positions, and deferred some major leadership positions in attempt to cut costs.
The Waukesha County Communications Center dispatches for more than two dozen agencies in the area. The analysis done by the Police Department reviewed calls at some of those agencies, with the Brookfield Police Department saying it had the most problems with county dispatch.
In his letter, Vrakas called for the city to conduct an independent study that would help the Common Council “compare and contrast” both dispatch centers with factual, unbiased information.
Vrakas drew attention to a similar independent study conducted by professionals on behalf of New Berlin as it considers joining the Waukesha County Communications Center.
Once Waukesha has completed an independent study, Vrakas told Scrima he would be “happy to discuss the results with you.”
The April 17 Common Council will be held at Waukesha North High School due to the large crowd that is expected.