Shared Emergency Dispatching Services
A version of the following letter appeared on Lakeexpo.com.
There is probably no better opportunity for municipalities to share services for public benefit than in emergency 911 dispatching services. Lake Ozark and Osage Beach deserve credit for considering this change, which can improve public safety and save taxpayer money at the same time. Lake Ozark appears to be moving ahead with the necessary legislation, and Osage Beach should move forward with it as well.
In 2015, Lawrence County in southwestern Missouri began a process to consolidate and modernize all the 911 systems for its various agencies, including the county sheriff, nine municipal police and fire departments, fire districts, and ambulance districts. The municipality of Aurora stated that it would save $400,000 by joining the new, countywide 911 system and closing its own system. The combined system is currently investing in an upgraded 911 center to provide even better service to the county.
There are many more opportunities for 911 consolidation around the state and in the Lake region. Municipal police departments aren’t limited to sharing service with other police departments; they can operate together with fire districts, county sheriffs, university police departments, ambulance districts, and more. The economies of scale allow for greater enhancement of technology in larger 911 systems, and it saves taxpayer money, just like in Lawrence County and elsewhere in Missouri.
Change may not be easy, but consolidating 911 systems is the perfect opportunity to both invest in better public safety for cities and better manage tax dollars.