is all set to give up its city-run dispatch center and move over to Hennepin County dispatch service—a transfer targeted for as early as Aug. 1.
The County Board voted 5-1 on Tuesday to let Hopkins start using the county dispatch center.
Hopkins’ request to use county dispatch initially faced opposition from commissioners still upset that several metro communities, including Hopkins, opted to forgo county dispatch services nearly a decade ago. In November 2004, county commissioners approved a resolution barring those who declined county dispatch from joining on for at least eight years.
When impending costly upgrades prompted Hopkins officials t, commissioners said then expected in July.
But now Hopkins could drop to just three dispatchers by July 10 because two dispatchers could be headed to jobs elsewhere. Meanwhile, the 911 study will not be available in July as expected.
Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said he worried when the issue initially arose that it would “take steam out of” the push for further integration of dispatch services. But he said there is a need to take care of Hopkins dispatch now. Still, he said the county needs to continue working toward a more-integrated dispatch system across Hennepin County.
Said Commissioner Randy Johnson: “This is a different situation in that Hopkins faces a near emergency in terms of personnel.”
Commissioner Mike Opat, who voted against the proposal in committee, remained the lone commissioner against the idea.
“I think we made very clear that the door was closed to adding to our dispatch,” he said. “No offense to Hopkins but I think not planning for the fact that employees might leave … is not a reason to deviate from our policy. We made it very clear when it was open. We made it very clear when it was closed. So I’m not moved by the claim of a unique and unprecedented circumstance that can’t be mitigated somehow.”
Hopkins aims to switch over to county dispatch as soon as it can, said City Manager Mike Mornson. It’s targeting Aug. 1 as the switch-over date.
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