ST. LOUIS – A plan to consolidate 911 dispatch operations in St. Louis City will likely need state approval before it can become a reality.
The Post-Dispatch reported a plan to merge all of the 911 dispatching services in the city is already being reviewed. Now city officials are trying to figure out how the different unions would come together under the proposal.
Richard Frank, the city personnel director, spoke Wednesday before the Aldermanic Public Safety Committee. The Post-Dispatch reported Frank told the committee that the state board of mediation would need to clarify whether the dispatchers under the consolidation plan would be represented by the city police or firefighters union.
Frank said that decision could involve a runoff election of impacted union members. He told the public safety committee that he and his staff are reviewing the proposed consolidation plan and after that is done they will begin negotiations with the police and fire unions. Interim public safety director Dan Isom submitted a proposed merger plan for 911 services in the city to Mayor Tishaura Jones.
The plan is to combine the 911 centers this fall. As it stands now, all 911 calls go to police dispatchers. If the fire department or EMS is needed, then police dispatchers transfer calls to separate 911 centers. That often results in delays in response times.
Staffing is another concern. The Post-Dispatch reported that Frank told the public safety committee that there are currently 25 police dispatcher vacancies and 9 firefighter dispatcher vacancies. FOX 2 was told 22 of the police department openings have been filled but those workers still have to undergo training.