Mayor Says Joining County Dispatch Would Be 'Irresponsible'

Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima agrees with police chief and pledges his support to continue Waukesha Police Department dispatch center operations.

Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima is supporting Police Chief Russell Jack’s , calling it “irresponsible” to join

The city's Finance Committee is reviewing information about the two dispatch centers to see if the city could save money by switching to the county instead continuing to operate its own dispatch center for police and fire calls.

Jack’s recommendations said the average savings would be $14 per household per year, but he had concerns about communication problems, high turnover rate and leadership with the county center.

Scrima told Waukesha Patch that he supports the chief's recommendation.

“City of Waukesha families deserve the highest quality in 911 dispatch services, and during this last year after personally experiencing and listening to both sides of the issue, I believe consolidating to the county dispatch would be irresponsible,” Scrima said in an email. “The City of Waukesha Police Department, by maintaining on-site local control of how and when our police are dispatched, can most effectively protect our families.”

One large concern highlighted in the feasibility study conducted by the was numerous problems the Brookfield Police Department experienced after switching to joint dispatch.

Some of the calls were not dispatched for several minutes during potentially life-threatening situations, including a possible lead on a suspect in a shooting of a Wauwatosa police officer. Other problems included officers in Brookfield being dispatched to Hillside Elementary School for a man with a gun call when the call originated at the Hillside Cinema in Delafield.

“I cannot in good conscience, recommend consolidating with WCC,” Jack said in a memo released March 19. “This decision would violate the City of Waukesha mission statement, which states, ‘We are dedicated to enhancing the community's quality of life through efficient, effective and responsive government.’

"Consolidation would make our department less efficient, less effective and would not enhance the quality of life in the City of Waukesha," he added.

Other departments beside Brookfield were interviewed in the report. The report states:

“Overall, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department, City of Delafield, Village of Chenequa, Village of Hartland, and Village of Pewaukee are satisfied with the services provided by WCC. Most stated the move to WCC provided a professional dispatch service with advanced technology they could not have experienced on their own. Some agencies stated some inconveniences; however, the negatives did not outweigh the positives.”

Call Breakdown

The majority of the calls coming into the City of Waukesha dispatch center are police-related calls. Here is the breakdown, according to the report:

  • Police calls; 91 percent
  • Emergency medical service calls; 7.8 percent
  • Fire calls; 1.2 percent

“It is the position of the (Waukesha) Fire Department that they will not lose any current services but gain some minor services, such as monitoring of the WiTRAC website (a service that monitors hospital closures) and decreasing dispatch time for calls initiated by cell phones,” the report states.

A discussion about the city potentially joining the Waukesha County Communications Center is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. April 17 at , 201 Delafield St.

William Graham April 03, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Bravo and thanks Mayor Scrima! I totally agree that our dispatch system remains the best answer for us citizens.
Sarah Wonderiling April 03, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Waukytalk April 03, 2012 at 10:50 PM
When is Chief Jack going to retire???
Tim Nekich April 04, 2012 at 02:05 AM
I concur with Mr. Graham. and urge the Common Council to Back the Police Chief and Mayor on this issue. The City of Waukesha has a strong track record when it comes to providing Protective and Emergency services. The Cities Dispatch center is and should always be the glue that binds those services together. Members of the Common Council who are also County board supervisors need to choose where their loyalties lie.
Joe April 04, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Make sure you use all caps because that makes you look intelligent. Go back to your teachers union and tell them you did a good job trolling the patch


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