The Riverfront Times Adds to the 911 Discussion …
The Riverfront Times chimes into the 911 discussion with an interesting article on technical glitches and financial disputes that have possibly hampered 911 service in St. Louis County. I say “possibly” because the county maintains there has been no problem. This article discusses everything from technical issues to patent disputes to monetary fights — enough to make you long for a return to the days of hunting, gathering, worshipping the sun, and getting eaten by wild animals. Key statement (emphasis added):
McCormack has saved two months’ worth of calls to St. Louis County’s main dispatch center, which serves forty of the county’s municipalities, including larger areas such as Chesterfield and Eureka.
Another good example, along with the ones we discussed the other day, of shared municipal services. I found a crazy cool website dedicated to radio frequencies and 911 dispatch information. It shows that a number of county municipalities share 911 dispatch services with other cities, but we still have way too many separate systems in St. Louis County. For the record, Olivette has joined the East Central Dispatch system in Richmond Heights that I discussed the other day, so kudos to them. Most of the larger cities have their own dispatch systems (Florissant, University City), which is fine — they are big enough to afford it.
There are some typical examples of too much redundancy in the county, though. It’s nice that Glendale and Warson Woods share the dispatch system, but if Kirkwood does dispatching for Oakland, it can certainly do it for Glendale and Warson Woods, too. Same with Brentwood and Rock Hill. Why not just save money for everyone and join the East Central Dispatch system? Ladue, Frontenac, and Huntleigh? How about some more coooperation here?
For the record, in my recent posts on St. Ann I wondered whether they were doing all they could to share services, as opposed to raising taxes. It seems that, in 911 dispatch at least, they are indeed sharing the service with a couple of other mid-sized munis, so they deserve credit for that.
As I wrote earlier, any new tax imposed to improve 911 service should mandate some consolidation of dispatch centers before the additional money is distributed. Then I will gladly vote for the cell phone tax.