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Police Chief Says Joint Dispatch Plan a Bad Idea for Waukesha

Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack highlights areas of concerns about the city joining the Waukesha County Communications Center, saying he can't recommend a merger "in good conscience."

Police Chief Russell Jack is recommending against the city joining the county’s dispatch center after his department completed a long-awaited report about the feasibility of joining Waukesha County Communications Center.

“I cannot in good conscience, recommend consolidating with WCC,” Jack said in a memo released Monday. “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.”

  • The memo from Jack and a feasibility study conducted by the police department is attached to this article.

The Waukesha Common Council is 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.

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.

“After reviewing the cost analysis, the savings are clearly not what some have purported,” Jack said in a memo about the analysis. “The figures indicate the city would lose money the first three years and ‘break even’ in the fourth year.

"In consolidating with WCC, the (property tax rate) savings over a 10-year period would average $0.07 per $1,000 of assessed value or an average of $14 per year per average household. This does not take into account the tens of thousands of work hours necessary to complete the consolidation process with WCC,"he added.

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

Jack questioned the county’s dispatch center in the memo for “numerous documented incidents of problems,” including:

  • Communication problems
  • High turnover rate
  • Poor leadership

Additional, Jack said in the memo, that there is no guarantee that annual maintenance fees the county would charge would remain the same.

“If the City of Waukesha relinquishes control of our dispatching services and joins WCC, regardless of the costs or level of service, we will never be able to open our Communication Center unless Waukesha County gives us permission,” Jack said. “Based on its ever-increasing pressure to have all communities join WCC, for all practical purposes, there is no chance of the City of Waukesha reopening our Communication Center.”

Tim Nekich March 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM
I have always thought joining The County Dispatch Center was a bad idea. Chief Jack is right on the money with his comments. The City of Waukesha Dispatch operation is and always was a good investment for the Citizens of the City of Waukesha. I understand the need to look for cost savings but Police operations isn't the place. Leave well enough alone. " Penney wise in this case is in my opinion Dollar foolish.
William Graham March 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM
I agree with the Chief. The savings cost is not a great deal - and those savings may disappear in the future as the expenses increase. Once the change is made, there will be no going back to the current system that has proven its worth in value and safety. We have gone through this discussion before and decided to keep what we have. No change now please!
Waukytalk March 20, 2012 at 11:41 PM
How about a study that is NOT done by the Waukesha Police Department?
Alicia Rodriguez Silva March 21, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Time to sit down and rethink this.Much could be gained by joining WCC.Time to think about long-term benefits.
Paul S March 21, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Who would you suggest conduct the study? The water department? I think that the Police department has the right insight on what is the best option. If you put all your trust in a system run by committee when we need communications right here, the WCC will be governed by what is best for everybody. I would rather be served by the local system without regard for the rest of the area. We can certainly co-operate with everyone else, but the primary responsibility of the Waukesha Police Department is to the taxpayers of Waukesha. The long term benefits of saving 20 bucks a year versus our police having reliable and locally controlled systems is hard to justify. there are some things that we don't mind spending money on, and this is one of them.
Alicia Rodriguez Silva March 21, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Why should taxpayers pay for computer systems,technology for 2 communications centers? As a former Waukesha Co Board supervisor, I was hesitant a few years back, since the city had recently invested in software,and updates,but now,there's not really a good reason to not join the Waukesha Co Communications Center.I'm sure we would work diligently to get reliable service,but it does take some trust or faith to work together.I wonder how many have actually toured the WCC...it's an amazing facility!
Honest John March 21, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Alicia beign a Board Supervisor you ar familiar with the power grab. Under your reasoning we are paying for 2 or more law enforcement agencies as well, 2 or more court systems Muni/Circuit. There are many duplications in the system which is a problem, however the next step will be a power grab to expand the Sheriff Dept to patrol the whole city, after all we are already paying for them. I for one feel that the City Dispatch does its job well, and far surpasses what WCC can do for the City. I'll gladly spend the $20 a year to have high quality dispatching for the police and fire if I need them.
Chris B March 21, 2012 at 10:13 PM
@ Paul S Who would do a study? How about Springstead, Inc? The same company that just completed a study for the city of New Berlin. Check out the city of New Berlin's website for the 3/19/2012 Common Council Meeting. An internal study can potentially have bias. The purpose of an independent study is to gather objective information. I enourage you to read the Police Department study and compare to how the one in New Berlin was done.

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