Speaking Up For Public Safety

Public Safety Dispatcher Robert Klepps of Local 562 talks to Channel 30's Amanda Raus.

The unions representing state police dispatchers (Council 4 AFSCME) and state police troopers (CT State Police Union) are raising concerns over the proposed consolidation of dispatch operations.

The DESPP (Dept. of Emergency Services and Public Protection) is pushing to consolidate dispatch centers around the state, starting in early 2012 with the Canaan-Litchfield-Southbury operations.

Council 4 represents more than 70 public safety dispatchers who are urging policy makers to slow down and examine the public safety impact, especially in the aftermath of two violent storms.

The state legislature has scheduled a hearing on January 18, 2012. The subject matter is an Informational Hearing on the Centralization of State Police Dispatchers, and it’s scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building.

“You can’t put dollar signs in front of public safety,” said Council 4 Staff Representative Jeff Scanlon, who negotiates for the AFSCME administrative clerical bargaining unit that represents the dispatchers.

Andrew Matthews, president of the state police union, told the Republica-American his members are concerned about the distances troopers will have to travel to either transport prisoners or respond to calls and citizens seeking help.

Council 4 and CT State Police Union members meet with the media in Waterbury.

"It sounds good when you talk about consolidation and saving the taxpayers money, merge troops, but what they don't talk about is the cost to implement it," he said. "They don't want to talk about the hidden costs if we were to regionalize."