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  • Consolidated Dispatch Fees

    A few years ago our county went to a consolidated dispatch center. Very few if any PD agency's were interested. It was pushed by fire/ems and its selling point was a cost savings. The dispatch centers service sucks big time. This week the small town part time PD I work for was hit with over $5000.00 in "user fees". Every traffic stop or call that generates an incident number gets the agency hit with a $15.00 user fee. Anyone ever fought this type of non sense? This fee is a decent size chunk of the annual budget for this small agency. I hate to think what my full time job agency's bill will be. I have heard rumors of 300k to 600k.

    Just curious if anyone has ever heard or dealt with this type crap.
    Last edited by j706; 09-05-2009, 08:28 PM.
    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

  • #2
    Originally posted by j706 View Post
    A few years ago our county went to a consolidated dispatch center. Very few if any PD agency's were interested. It was pushed by fire/ems and its selling point was a cost savings. The dispatch centers service sucks big time. This week the small town part time PD I work for was hit with a $5239.00 user fee. Every traffic stop or call that generates an incident number gets the agency hit with a $15.00 user fee. Anyone ever fought this type of non sense? This fee is a decent size chunk of the annual budget for this small agency. I hate to think what my full time job agency's bill will be. I have heard rumors of 300k to 600k.

    Just curious if anyone has ever heard or dealt with this type crap.
    Wow!! I've probably got as many questions as you do. I'm assuming that the Sheriff's Office is part of the Consolidated System. If not, you could possibly work out a deal with them. The only other thing I think of, off the top of my head is, to go to a Stand Alone Dispatch System. If you go with this option, you'll have to have your own Base Station Radio or equivilent. You're looking at hiring, three, possibly four Dispatchers. You'll need NCIC/NLETS access. When you cost all of that out on an Annual basis, if the cost of going it alone is cheaper than using the Consolidated Center, you go it alone. I'm a little surprised that your agency was surprised/blindsided by the assessment. At the very minimum, your Department should have been aware of any costs/billing associated with using the center. Guess I'm just a little curious as to how your Department arrived at this situation.

    Comment


    • #3
      I am not sure about all the details with the merger. With my part time job I was speaking with our clerk about a copy of an agreement signed off on by the council. None to be found. Most PD agency's I know of fought the merger. All the city government bean counters signed off on it as it was sold as a cost savings measure. This merger closed down my own agency's dispatch center. Our county now has the one center only. All PD units are on one channel!! This thing is frustrating. Heck I get sent to calls that are not even in our county by mistake. What a mess.

      In my mind if a center can't run off the 911 funds they need to cut back. The director and his #2 guy drive around in brand new unmarked hemi chargers with emergency equipment installed. One of these days! (They are not LEO)
      "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
        Wow!! I've probably got as many questions as you do. I'm assuming that the Sheriff's Office is part of the Consolidated System. If not, you could possibly work out a deal with them. The only other thing I think of, off the top of my head is, to go to a Stand Alone Dispatch System. If you go with this option, you'll have to have your own Base Station Radio or equivilent. You're looking at hiring, three, possibly four Dispatchers. You'll need NCIC/NLETS access. When you cost all of that out on an Annual basis, if the cost of going it alone is cheaper than using the Consolidated Center, you go it alone. I'm a little surprised that your agency was surprised/blindsided by the assessment. At the very minimum, your Department should have been aware of any costs/billing associated with using the center. Guess I'm just a little curious as to how your Department arrived at this situation.
        Your estimates are way too low.
        911 centers are very expensive.

        Everything costs money
        4 dispatchers will not cover a 24/7/365 operation. Relief factor (7 day post)for one position per shift is 1.7. 1 x 1.7=2.89 x 3(shifts) =8.67 positions. That should cover most days off and vacations.

        911 equipment (answering points, computers, CAD)

        Radio and service agreements

        Access to the other radio systmes for mutual aide purposes

        I also doubt your city was blindsided. At sometime during the set up process it was all laid out to the city board/council and they made the decision that it was more cost effective to go with the consolidated dispatch. Now they are having second thoughts, or reality has sunk in as to the per case charges.

        In my area the couple consolidated dispatch centers base charges on total cost of operation divided by percentage of total population served.
        In other words City A with a population of 100,000 pays twice as much of the percentage of operation as City B with 50,000 population. County pays a percentage based on the population in the unincorporated area of the county.
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #5
          Obviously you guys need to write more tickets to pay for your dispatchers....

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
            Your estimates are way too low.
            911 centers are very expensive.

            Everything costs money
            4 dispatchers will not cover a 24/7/365 operation. Relief factor (7 day post)for one position per shift is 1.7. 1 x 1.7=2.89 x 3(shifts) =8.67 positions. That should cover most days off and vacations.

            911 equipment (answering points, computers, CAD)

            Radio and service agreements

            Access to the other radio systmes for mutual aide purposes

            I also doubt your city was blindsided. At sometime during the set up process it was all laid out to the city board/council and they made the decision that it was more cost effective to go with the consolidated dispatch. Now they are having second thoughts, or reality has sunk in as to the per case charges.

            In my area the couple consolidated dispatch centers base charges on total cost of operation divided by percentage of total population served.
            In other words City A with a population of 100,000 pays twice as much of the percentage of operation as City B with 50,000 population. County pays a percentage based on the population in the unincorporated area of the county.
            I never suggested that my random thoughts were an "in-depth" cost analysis. As I noted at the start of my response, I had(still have) about as many questions as the OP. The Consolidated System was sold as a cost saving measure. I also understand that any new system is going to have
            "teething" problems. I simply became interested in the post, and the problems our OP noted. I'm also not suggesting that the city was intentionally blindsided, but I am curious as to why the billing was a suprise. I'm also curious as to why no "documentation" concerning the Consolidated System has been found. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm merely wondering where it is. It is supposed to be a matter of public record,and thus should be available to the citizens of the concerned communities. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject, but once more, I never said my reply was any kind of "In-Depth" analysis.

            Comment


            • #7
              I just hope that your Chief doesn't get flak from the city council and in turn tells you guys to stop calling so much stuff over the radio. That will lead to a major safety issue. Basically you can do two things, either listen and not call in everything or just go crazy and become a total traffic nazi and make that bill triple each month and tell the city council they were stupid to do this. I am a bit of a bitter person when things don't go my way so I would do that to ****** them off HAHA

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                I never suggested that my random thoughts were an "in-depth" cost analysis. As I noted at the start of my response, I had(still have) about as many questions as the OP. The Consolidated System was sold as a cost saving measure. I also understand that any new system is going to have
                "teething" problems. I simply became interested in the post, and the problems our OP noted. I'm also not suggesting that the city was intentionally blindsided, but I am curious as to why the billing was a suprise. I'm also curious as to why no "documentation" concerning the Consolidated System has been found. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm merely wondering where it is. It is supposed to be a matter of public record,and thus should be available to the citizens of the concerned communities. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject, but once more, I never said my reply was any kind of "In-Depth" analysis.
                I understood your posting and was just adding data and I was agreeing that I don't think the city was blindsided.

                My point was a 24/7/365 set up is very expensive to man and run.....and lots of problems setting up. My reply wasn't very in depth either.....just a rough out.

                We had a similar situation happen here on a small scale a few yrs ago with a county wide dispatch....................it is still being pounded out as to who pays what etc.
                Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                  I understood your posting and was just adding data and I was agreeing that I don't think the city was blindsided.

                  My point was a 24/7/365 set up is very expensive to man and run.....and lots of problems setting up. My reply wasn't very in depth either.....just a rough out.

                  We had a similar situation happen here on a small scale a few yrs ago with a county wide dispatch....................it is still being pounded out as to who pays what etc.
                  Guess that's why a little prior planning prevents p....s poor performance. My Dispatch man hour "projections" were for our OP's agency going back to a stand alone dispatch system. Sure looks like the City Fathers/powers that be, didn't do a lot of the in-depth planning and homework required for these projects. We gotta know "Murphy's Law" is going to apply in a lot of these consolidated systems, and Murphy seems to be hanging around this project. Anyway, I enjoyed and appreciated your thoughts. Just wanted to emphasize once more, that mine were anything but an in-depth analysis. Take care.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NYPO View Post
                    I just hope that your Chief doesn't get flak from the city council and in turn tells you guys to stop calling so much stuff over the radio. That will lead to a major safety issue. Basically you can do two things, either listen and not call in everything or just go crazy and become a total traffic nazi and make that bill triple each month and tell the city council they were stupid to do this. I am a bit of a bitter person when things don't go my way so I would do that to ****** them off HAHA
                    I am afraid the don't mark out on anything will happen. Silly? You bet. But that is what I see happening. They are charging for stops and details where everything is done via laptop. No talking what so ever. Bottom line most PD's have taken budget hits. Dispatch is supposed to be covered by 911 funds. This center is living high on the hog. Dispatchers make more than some road officers. I am all about people making a good living but we all must live with in our means/budgets.

                    This crap is billed yearly I guess.
                    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms. . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." - Thomas Jefferson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by j706 View Post
                      I am afraid the don't mark out on anything will happen. Silly? You bet. But that is what I see happening. They are charging for stops and details where everything is done via laptop. No talking what so ever. Bottom line most PD's have taken budget hits. Dispatch is supposed to be covered by 911 funds. This center is living high on the hog. Dispatchers make more than some road officers. I am all about people making a good living but we all must live with in our means/budgets.

                      This crap is billed yearly I guess.
                      Just off the top, sounds like the basic service agreement needs to be renegotiated. I'm assuming there is a basic agreement in place between the individual agencies and the county, with regard to the Consolidated System.The agreement should spell out the services rendered by the dispatch center, and the terms, conditions, and charges for those services.Regarding the pay disparity between Dispatchers and some Officers, that may be more common than you think. For example, Dispatchers, or Police Communications Officers, with my agency,often make considerably more money than Police Officers from smaller agencies. I'm certain that is true in other areas of the country as well. Probably not much can be done about that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        You May Be Getting Off Cheap

                        I'm curious. Is this $15 per incident number fee the only charge generated or is it on top of a monthly fee for dispatching services?

                        One of the big headaches in running a regional or consolidated communications center is having each user pay their proportionate share of the operating costs based on their amount of usage. Charging based on the number if incident numbers generated is one way of tracking and charging for that usage. $15 per incident number on top of a monthly fee strikes me as being a unusually high, however, if they are doing this in lieu of a monthly charge, it sounds a lot more reasonable.

                        I don't know what you pay your dispatchers back there, but let's assume for sake of argument that it's $2,500 per month. A benefit package (civilian retirement, social security, unemployment, health insurance, workers comp, state disability, etc.) is going to run your another 25% per year. That means each dispatcher position is going to cost you $37,500 per year.

                        You need 365 days of dispatch coverage, 3 shifts per day, which equals 1,095 work days per year. Assuming your dispatchers work eight hour days, five days a week and factoring in 104 Saturdays and Sundays off, vacation time, holidays, sick leave, jury duty, military leave, training days, etc., each dispatcher is only going to work around 220 days per year on the radio. This means you will need a minimum of 5 dispatchers positions to give you 24 hours a day coverage.

                        5 dispatcher positions X $37,500 = $187,500 (not including the cost of radio equipment and maintenance).

                        $187,500 -/- $15 =12,500 incident numbers.

                        12,500 incident numbers -/- 365 = 34.25 incident numbers per day.

                        So, at $15 per incident number, you can draw 12,500 incident numbers per year and it still won't cost you any more than if you paid the wages of your own dispatchers, 24 hours a day. Toss in the cost of maintaining radio equipment, microwave links, 911 lines, etc., and related maintenance and the price goes much higher.
                        Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                        Comment

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