To the Editor:
RE: "Regional Dispatching Plan Raises Concerns," April 3, 2014.
It certainly does raise my concerns and it should raise the concerns of every citizen of Newtown as well as those who work in Newtown as I do.
Concern #1: Response time. A few seconds in an emergency are precious never mind a minute or two.
Concern #2. Dispatchers will lose their jobs. The same dispatchers who skillfully dispatched before and on 12/14 and still do today. Is this anyway to treat our Newtown dispatchers? It's a slap in their faces to even consider regionalization.
Concern #3. The commitment and ties the Newtown dispatchers have to the community, whether they are actual Newtown natives or not, make them vested in Newtown. They know the geography, businesses, schools, streets, people. I can't see Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc, which is 25 miles from Newtown, having employees who would have such a vested interest.
Concern #4. The Newtown dispatchers know the police officers, firefighters and ambulance crews. They can put a face to each caller. There is a trust shared between them that will not be found 25 miles away. They are an important part of the team that serves your community.
Concern #5. The State Police regionalized about two years ago and are now in the process of de-regionalizing. On this matter, State Senator Donald Williams is quoted in The Day of New London on March 13th: “It is difficult to see how this multi-step process creates efficiency or quicker response time,” State Rep. Mae Flexer is also quoted, “...but it has dangerously increased the response times in case of emergency calls.”
Common sense says this is a terrible idea. I know as the wife of a police officer and the mother of a volunteer firefighter how important dispatch is for every call. How could this even be considered! Is saving the taxpayers of Newtown $149,000 a year worth giving up what they already have, which works, or taking a chance on something that might not? “If it ain't broke....”? It has been proven that the dispatchers in Newtown are on top of their game. These dedicated dispatchers have a vested interest in the citizens of Newtown and the first responders they work with daily. I'm glad to see the Police Commission is taking a careful look at this as well as Chief Kehoe.
Was I surprised that Maureen Will is pushing this? Yes, I was at first. Then I did a little research and found out that she is on the board of directors for Northwest Connecticut Public Safety Communication Center, Inc, in Prospect. Citizens of Newtown, contact your Police Commissioners and your selectmen. Voice your opinion about this and attend the next Police Commission meeting on May 6th. Stand up and be heard!
Linda M. Haas
767 Old Waterbury Road, Southbury April 15, 2014