Department exploring 911 dispatch changes
Thu, 04/27/2023 - 11:53am caleb
Sheriff looking into short-term agreement with Roscommon, possible switch to dispatch through Gaylord State Police
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Department is exploring the possibility of having the Gaylord State Police take over 911 dispatch for the county, a move that would offer a cost savings for the department and provide a better wage for the county’s dispatchers, Sheriff Ryan Swope said.
“There’s definitely things to be ironed out but we’re having conversations with them,” Sheriff Swope said.
Sheriff Swope said some of the current Crawford County dispatchers are eligible for retirement and the others would become employees of the State Police (and make “substantially more money”). Sheriff Swope said his goal in the endeavor is to make sure everyone feels like they’re being “treated fairly” and “accepting of the outcome.”
“We can only provide our employees so much money at an hourly rate. I feel that job is worthy of making more than we are able to pay,” Sheriff Swope said.
Sheriff Swope said the 911 dispatch center is funded by 911 surcharges, a revenue stream that has decreased as the use of cell phones has increased. Sheriff Swope said the department has had to explore other avenues of offering dispatch because otherwise it would be forced to seek funding via millage.
The sheriff said dispatch equipment is costly, and the State Police post has better technology than the current Crawford County system.
“The ultimate goal in this is to be able to provide the citizens of Crawford County more technologic service than we can provide them,” Sheriff Swope said. “The State Police has a larger budget, more technology, more wage money, and employees have the ability to transfer within the State Police. If this works out everybody wins in this deal. My hope is in every avenue there is positive feedback.”
If approved, when could the change take place? Sheriff Swope said “if everything works out” a “rough estimate” of the timeline would be completing the switch at the beginning of a new fiscal year on October 1, 2023.
In the meantime, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department is working on a “short-term agreement” to pay Roscommon County to provide dispatch service to Crawford County during the hours of 12 a.m. to 7 a.m.
Sheriff Swope said the endeavor would save the department money and allow the Crawford County dispatchers to take vacations or time off.
Sheriff Swope said agreements still have to be completed between the two counties and an hourly rate charge needs to be finalized. Sheriff Swope said he hopes the short-term agreement with Roscommon will be in place “as soon as possible.”