Proposal to Cut Hopkins Dispatch Center Moves to County

Commissioners will consider a resolution that would allow the county to negotiate with Hopkins on terms for moving the city to county dispatch.

The County Board on Tuesday kicked off the formal process toward deciding whether to allow , a move that would allow the city to eliminate its dispatch center.

Staff presented commissioners with a resolution that would authorize county administration to enter into negotiations with Hopkins about the terms and conditions under which it could start using county dispatch services.

On May 15, the resolution will go before committee for discussion, said Commissioner Jan Callison—whose district includes Hopkins and the commissioner who brought the proposal to the county.

The committee will either recommend approval or progress it forward. Callison, who supports the proposal, said she doesn’t yet know how the full board feels about the idea, but she expects to have a sense of that after the committee meeting.

Commissioners will vote on the resolution at their May 22 meeting. If the resolution passes, county administration will begin negotiating with Hopkins with the intention of transferring the city to county dispatch in 2012.

Once they have an agreement, they’ll bring the proposal back to the board for final approval.

Callison said the overall timeline will depend on the complexity of the negotiations.

Local officials suggested eliminating the city’s dispatch center and transferring dispatch services to the county in order to save money. Hopkins is the smallest community in Hennepin County to have its own dispatch center. Consequently, it pays more per person for dispatch services than any other community in the county. Police Chief Mike Reynolds estimated Hopkins could save at least $300,000 a year with county dispatch.

The county’s support is not certain, though. In November 2004, county commissioners approved a resolution barring those who declined county dispatch at the time from joining on for at least eight years.

The proposal has also created apprehension among some Hopkins residents who fear county dispatchers won’t know the community as well as in-house dispatchers.  


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Norman Teigen May 09, 2012 at 07:46 PM
The technology issues point to the change. Having the best system possible means that Hopkins will be better protected. Crime in Hopkins most generally comes from sources outside of the community. As a current participant in the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department citizen class, I am convinced that the county dispatch center will be better, and more economical, for the city. Hopkins is not exempt from the over-all crime tendencies of Hennepin County and, I feel, that it is the best interests of Opkins to be a part of the County system. I'd be interested in exchanging ideas about this. I do believe that the Hopkins City Council is on top of this issue.
James Warden May 09, 2012 at 07:55 PM
You know, Norman, you are more than welcome to share your experiences from the Sheriff's Department citizens class on your Patch blog. I bet readers would love to hear what you're learning. RE: Your technology comments. This is what struck me from the initial information: "If the city continues to run its own dispatch center, its analog phone system must be upgraded to a digital system this year. That would cost $50,000 in 2012 with ongoing lease expenses of $20,000 to $40,000 per year, depending on the length of the lease. And in the longer term, the city would not have to spend an anticipated $570,000 to upgrade dispatch equipment in 2018—taking some pressure off the already stretched equipment replacement plan." Then again, that's out of a $10 million budget. Maybe taxpayers would be willing to shell out a little more for local dispatchers. Chief Reynolds did say officers have gotten used to additional services county dispatchers won't provide. Anyone else have any thoughts?


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