When opens on Groesbeck sometime next year, Clinton Township may be one of several local police departments to have consolidated its dispatch services with those of the county.
“It’s an exciting project that is being taken on by Macomb County and as of this time we have been attending the meetings and taking in our options to possibly become a member in the future in consolidating dispatch services,” said Chief of Police Fred Posavetz, adding that the department had not made any commitment at this time.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel unveiled plans for the center on Aug. 1. Using a variety of funding sources – but no extra taxpayer dollars Hackel promises – the roughly 25,000-square-foot center would be built inside the older section of the Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDOR) building on Groesbeck between Cass and Harrington.
While the center’s primary purpose is to consolidate county services, such as the Department of Roads Traffic Operations Center, the Information Technology Data Center and the county’s Emergency Management & Communications Department, Hackel said any municipalities wishing to partner with the county to enhance their own emergency services are welcome to do so.
Dispatch services for Clinton Township police are currently located in the department’s Groesbeck station, which employs 15 dispatchers. But with pressure from state government to consolidate and cut budgets where they can, Posavetz said he and other local officials have been looking at different ways to consolidate for more than a year.
Officials from Clinton Township were among five local municipalities, along with the county, to found the Macomb Area Communities for Regional Opportunities task force in February 2011. Since that time, members of the group have met monthly to discuss and possibly implement service-sharing practices to reduce costs.
“(The push for) consolidation comes off the heels of Gov. (Rick) Snyder recommending cost-saving measures for all local governments to consolidate services,” Posavetz said. “The first project we’ve taken on is to consolidate police and fire dispatch.”
While consolidating with the county would move the township’s dispatch services to a different Groesbeck address, Posavetz said he doesn’t believe this move, if undertaken, would change service or response times.
“I don’t think most people would even realize,” he said. “Everything is done over phone lines, so it doesn’t matter if you’re calling our dispatcher 1/16 of a mile up the road so long as someone is able to get you the help that you’re requiring or requesting.
“By going up there, I believe that service would still be of the same quality that the citizens of Clinton are used to. Otherwise, we won’t make that move.”
However, that quality is partly dependent on the department’s manpower, which Posavetz said has been reduced from 110 to 88 sworn officers over the past three years.
“My primary concern now is maintaining the level of service that we would like to provide our public, but it is real difficult and challenging when you lose that many employees.”