The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 2, 2013

Consolidated dispatching plan proposed for Jasper County

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Jasper County Emergency Services Board has endorsed a consolidation proposal that could result in a single dispatching point for Jasper County’s two largest emergency dispatching services.

The proposal was outlined by Joplin police Chief Lane Roberts during a special meeting Wednesday of the county board.

While consolidation would result in significant savings for the two agencies, Roberts said the primary benefit would be better services for residents who need emergency services and the agencies that provide them.

The plan calls for the county board to contract with Joplin for dispatch services. The operation would be at the larger county emergency dispatch center. The two operating systems would be merged, and the Joplin center would be maintained “for true redundancy,” Roberts said.

County board members authorized representatives of the board to begin negotiations toward a consolidation proposal. Roberts said he will ask the Joplin City Council to grant city representatives the same authority.

The consolidation would address conflicts between Joplin and the county board that started soon after Jasper County voters in April 1994 approved a one-tenth-cent sales tax to fund a countywide 911 dispatching system. Those long-standing conflicts were cited by Roberts in outlining a proposed contractual structure between the two agencies “to ensure all the stakeholders have protection.”

“The idea would be to bring the two (dispatching) centers together and invite the other (cities and emergency service agencies) in,” the chief said.

Under the proposed partnership, the city would provide dispatch services and personnel. The county would provide 911 equipment and technology, addressing services for areas not in the city, and director’s services.

While Joplin and the county center both serve as primary 911 answering points, the county currently has six different dispatch centers handling calls for 12 police departments and 12 fire departments, plus emergency medical services, Roberts said. The agencies operate on five different computer-aided systems, and while the county and Joplin use the same operating software and back up each other’s operations, they maintain totally separate systems. Roberts said at least four different radio systems are used, so many field units cannot communicate without radio relay.

He said the cost of all that is more than $4.5 million per year, so taxpayers are footing the bill for systems that can slow response times and create potentially dangerous situations in which more than one agency is responding to the same call.

April Tarrant, executive director of the county center, said there frequently are instances when dispatchers are responding to the same emergency being reported to separate centers from separate cellphone calls, which now represent about 80 percent of the calls to the centers.

“If we consolidated, they would all be in the same room,” she said.

Despite the differing operations, Roberts said Joplin and the county managed to put together a workable system after the May 22, 2011, tornado, “but it took two days.”

He credited Tarrant and Sunny Goodwin, manager of the Joplin dispatch center, for those efforts and for working together on other cooperative projects.

“This is a huge step that wouldn’t have happened without them,” Roberts said. “They have worked together on a lot of issues. Both centers are pursuing law enforcement dispatch accreditation, so their policies mirror. We back each other up, but we’re not redundant. So if one goes down, there are still transfers and delays.”

Roberts said the merger would save money, provide better service, and respond to calls for consolidation from both the state and federal governments. The concept calls for the operations manager of the center and the approximately 40 employees of both agencies to become Joplin employees. The executive director would continue to be an employee of the county board, which would approve the budget.

Though they had questions, board members were supportive of the proposal.

“This needs to be done, and it’s great that Joplin wants to pursue it,” said Carl Francis, Webb City’s police chief and interim city administrator.

History

A PLANNING COMMITTEE that recommended a 911 sales tax in Jasper County also recommended a single emergency answering point in Joplin, with calls to be transferred to other agencies. After voters approved the tax, elected board members decided that the center should not be in any jurisdiction, and that it should provide dispatching for small police and fire departments that had call transfer and wanted central dispatching. Joplin was designated as the backup site.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • 0420earthday.jpg Prairie State Park kicks off Earth Day events

    Prairie State Park began celebrating Earth Day early with an event Saturday that provided a chance for people of all ages to learn more about how they can protect the environment.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Catholic schools to hold annual spring auction

    The Joplin Area Catholic Schools spring auction will be staged Saturday at the Jack Lawton Webb Convention Center, 5300 S. Range Line Road in Joplin.

    April 19, 2014

  • Wally Kennedy MUG72.jpg Wally Kennedy: Another pizza choice and ice cream on the way

    A new pizza restaurant is coming to the northwest corner of Stone’s Corner in the Village of Airport Drive. Piez is opening this week in a storefront that formerly housed Quincy Magoo’s, 6039 N. Main Street Road, which has been closed for more than two years.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • mike pound_cnhi .jpg Mike Pound: No more hiding Easter eggs or emotions

    Well, that’s a wrap on the Easter egg hunts. For about 15 years we have staged not one, but two Easter egg hunts for our now 16-year-old daughter, Emma.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 Wedding1_72.jpg VIDEO: Cancer patient walks down aisle in wedding thrown by friends

    A year ago, Schandera Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form cervical cancer. And months after a radical hysterectomy, doctors confirmed the worst: The cancer had spread to her lungs and pancreas.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • r041614giregabby.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Teen with cystic fibrosis finds widespread support

    When the Nevada Show Choir performs its spring show on stage, it’s impossible to pick out the student with cystic fibrosis because there are no outward clues.
    Gabby Gire, 18, is just another performer. She sings, she dances, she smiles for the audience.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • Enrollment open for Joplin summer school

    Enrollment is now open for the Joplin school district’s summer school session, which will run Wednesday, June 4, though Tuesday, July 1.

    April 19, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Missouri Republicans are considering a new approach to prevent federal agents from enforcing laws the state considers to be infringements on gun rights: barring them from future careers in state law enforcement agencies. Do you think this proposal has merit?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter