Ypsilanti City Council approves moving emergency dispatchers to county
The Ypsilanti City Council has approved moving its four police and fire dispatchers to work out of county dispatch centers.
After the 7-0 vote this week, dispatchers now await a decision by the Police Officers Association of Michigan, but acting Police Chief Lt. Paul DeRidder said he has little doubt the organization will approve the move. He said he expects the dispatcher to be working for the county by late January or February.
Ypsilanti Fire Captain Dan King said it was the best move for the city. King said the four dispatchers were overworked and sometimes physically unable to answer the phones.
"They're overworked, understaffed, and they do a great job," King said.
With the move to the county, the four dispatchers will lose their seniority, but they will get a pay raise from $44,000 to $51,000. They will also go from 12 to eight-hour days and have 9 other dispatchers to back them up. DeRidder said they will work out of dispatch centers in Ann Arbor and Hogback road.
Huron Valley Ambulance will handle all fire and medical emergency calls.
The city stands to save $89,000 annually with the move. That is roughly the price of one police officer, DeRidder said at a Dec. 2 City Council meeting.
Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said the move is part of a greater effort to improve communications between law enforcement agencies in the county.
Some residents said they were wary of the move because it might slow down response times for police, fire, and emergency services. But police and Huron Valley Ambulance officials said there will be no delays on response times.
At the Dec. 2 meeting, DeRidder said residents can still use the emergency phones in the lobby of the police station on Michigan Avenue after it closes, and their calls will go directly to the sheriff's dispatch center.