Aldermen continue to work through issues on EOC decision
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 1:00 AM
The city is currently working through issues before making a decision about moving its police dispatch to the new Emergency Operations Center, the mayor and police chief said on Monday.
Currently, all 911 calls in Philadelphia and Neshoba County are answered at the county's communications center housed at the jail.
If the request is for Philadelphia police response, the call is transferred to city communications housed in the police department where it is dispatched to officers.
Calls and dispatches for the city fire department have been handled by the county since about 1995 at no charge to the city.
Mayor Young said centralized dispatch for police would alleviate the second call tier for the city.
However, police dispatchers are also available to fill out warrants and other paperwork 24-hours-a-day at city hall.
"They perform a multitude of tasks there," he said.
Police Chief Bill Cox agreed, saying he remains neutral as the decision merits further review.
Cox said the major concern about the proposal is that if the city does combine 911 services the citizens could lose the ability to sign affidavits at any time of the day.
"The PD has been available for walk-ins 24-hours-a-day," he said. "It's something we've always done."
The current proposal would cut weekend walk-ins and weekdays would be cut to 8-5, he said.
"To get around this, we would need to have someone at both places.
"My concern is being able to provide the level of service that citizens expect, being available when they need us and not forcing them to accept a schedule," he said.
Currently the city board has not made a decision on whether or not to combine the city and county 911 services.
Should the city move its dispatching to the EOC, additional equipment specialized for its repeaters would have to be purchased, County Administrator Benjie Coats said.
Four additional dispatchers would also be needed at the EOC, he said.