Friday, March 5, 2010

Recent reports commissioned by the Town of Whitestown..

seem to contradict the paid ad in the Observer Dispatch regarding the consolidation of Dispatch with the County 911. This ad was supposedly paid for by New York Mills Fire Department, Whitesboro Fire Department, and Yorkville Fire & Hose Company, among others.

One report, dated September 11, 2008, entitled "Fire & Emergency Medical Services Protection Study" was prepared by Fitch & Associates of Platte City, Missouri. As noted on the Acknowledgements page, each of these fire departments contributed information used to analyze services for this study.

According to the report:
The firm of Fitch & Associates, LLC, was retained by the Town of Whitestown (“the Town”) to examine the manner in which fire protection services and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are provided in the township, to assist the Town’s officials in developing appropriate levels of community expectations concerning these services, and in establishing appropriate and equitable levels of support for those services.
The Executive Summary page of the report says:
The system by which emergency incidents in the Town are dispatched involves two dispatch centers, one of which receives the 911 call and broadcasts the incident to the responsible fire department (the “primary PSAP”). The other, operated by the Town of New Hartford, records individual apparatus response and provides other dispatch services. There is no single centralized fire or emergency response recordkeeping system, which rendered a complete analysis of emergency response performance impossible.
Then on page 11, it is noted [in part] that:
...The involvement of two PSAPs in nearly every incident is problematic and could, under certain circumstances, have dire consequences. It is possible that, during the hand-off of information between PSAPs, information will be lost or communicated incorrectly, resulting in delayed or inappropriate response. In addition, the separate radio systems maintained and utilized by various jurisdictions were acknowledged by many system participants to impede emergency operations.
On page 25, the Recommendations & Options concludes that [Recommendation #2] the Town of Whitestown and the fire departments they contract with should:
Work with Oneida County and other relevant jurisdictions to establish a single, full-service PSAP/dispatch center that provides all necessary call-taking, data collection, dispatching, and related services.
Finally, we want to point out that on Page 21, Discussion & Findings it is noted that:
In 2007, the Center for Governmental Research completed a detailed study of law enforcement services in the Town and the villages, and concluded that services could be provided at the same level with a 14% reduction in cost, or a higher level of service at the current cost. Yet, our discussions with individuals during the course of this study, including elected officials and others including several sworn law enforcement officers, indicated little interest in the study or its findings. No actions have been taken based on this study. It was made clear that “local identity and control” of law enforcement services appear to be factors for which the citizens are willing to pay more. During the course of this study, individuals (admittedly part of or closely aligned with existing fire companies) indicated their belief that the citizens shared a similar sentiment with regard to fire services.
We happen to have a copy of that report as well; the report was actually paid for by a grant from the Oneida County District Attorney with the cooperation of the Whitestown Town Supervisor and the four village mayors. It is interesting to note two statements in the Center for Governmental Research study on law enforcement services report:
On page 6 - Calls made to 911 from New York Mills are forwarded from Oneida County Emergency Services to the New Hartford Dispatch Center for calls that originate from that part of the village that is not in the Town of Whitestown.
On page 56 - Including New York Mills in the consolidated police department would enhance officer safety and improve response time in New York Mills, because dispatch would shift from New Hartford to Oneida County 911. This would ensure that all officers in Whitestown are on the same frequency – an important consideration for emergency and back-up situations.
Isn't it interesting that the three (3) fire departments serving Town of Whitestown residents had available two (2) reports, each one identifying the use of the separate New Hartford 911 Dispatch services as being problematic, yet members of each of these fire departments joined with New Hartford Dispatchers to put a paid advertisement in the Observer Dispatch telling New Hartford residents that our help is needed to convince the town board not to consolidate with the County 911. We have to ask...just whose interests are these fire departments concerned with...residents in the area they serve or their own self-interests?

We are providing full copies of both reports for your perusal. Fitch & Associates report, Fire & Emergency Medical Services Protection Study and the Center for Governmental Research report, Consolidating Police Services in Whitestown, New York.

By the way, the paid ad that recently appeared in the Observer Dispatch said in part:
The matter of consolidation has been looked into in the past and studies always showed that the Town taxpayers were receiving a better service for a smaller cost than could be obtained with consolidation.
That's interesting...we wonder who did these so-called reports referenced in the ad. We will soon find out...the reports have been FOILed. We will revisit this topic as soon as we receive them.

So let us know, are you willing to pay more for dispatch service even though two (2) independent reports have concluded that it is not in residents' best interest to maintain separate Dispatch 911 Centers?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Q: So let us know, are you willing to pay more for a service even though two (2) independent reports have concluded that it is not in residents' best interest to maintain separate Dispatch 911 Centers?

A: NO

Anonymous said...

Great job reporting the Facts !!!! Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

While I respect and appreciate all emergency personnel for the service they provide, the empire building must end. Time has come to pull the plug on egos and excess and force these people to provide a better more efficient emergency response system at less cost to the taxpayer.

I wonder what response(if any) will follow when their own reports are used as a basis to "seal the deal" with consolidation?

Awesome research CC and please remind me never to spark a nerve with you. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Now is the perfect time for consolidation for both the dispatch center and the police dept. We already know the dispatch center is a waste of money and a service that can be provided by ONE center. The police dept is currently without a contract so why renew it ? Colburn said they(PBA) would not cave, so send them on there way. I have seen many comparisons to the Town of Clay and New Hartford resembles that community and they are happy with the Sheriff's Dept. service. There is no reason why we can't do that too.Currently there is no chief and from what I see no one qualified to take the position. The town would have to wait a year to fill this position, which is way too long. Time for a change, we need to act or we will be in bigger trouble in the near future.