LETTER: Grafton will get better service, lower cost with sheriff dispatch

To Ozaukee Press:

Ozaukee Press coverage of the Grafton Village Board meeting on April 2 reported the decision to transfer dispatch services to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department. I want to let Grafton residents know why I voted in favor of this decision.

Transferring dispatch to the sheriff will provide a dual benefit to Grafton residents. First, it will decrease the tax levy because it will result in a potential tax savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. 

Second, consolidation will lead to better outcomes for those who have a medical emergency. The entire Grafton Village Board has several times affirmed its commitment to implementing an emergency medical dispatch system (EMD), which is designed to get the correct emergency medical services to those in need as quickly and efficiently as possible. It also is a system in which the dispatchers are trained to instruct callers on how they can help the person in distress before the ambulance arrives. 

EMD is not unique to Grafton. It is being adopted all over the country because it saves lives. 

Because of difficulties in the working relationship with the Grafton Police Department, Aurora withdrew from the EMD arrangement with the village. Aurora’s charitable foundation had donated almost $40,000 to the village to assist with getting EMD in place and also provided at no cost the required medical director to oversee the program. That same medical director has overseen the Grafton volunteer paramedics since 2015 without any issues. Communities cannot provide advanced lifesaving skills without the oversight of a medical director who puts his MD license on the line for all the emergency services provided. 

Without Aurora’s medical oversight the village had no choice but to seek another option, and Ozaukee County proved to be the only viable alternative. The sheriff’s department has been using EMD for the past two years and it has a strong and cooperative relationship with the same medical director who has been trying to help Grafton.

A number of people came to the Village Board meeting to protest the proposed consolidation with Ozaukee County. Consolidation of services, like dispatch, is happening all over because it saves money. Some people may lose their jobs as a result and they and their friends and relatives are not happy about it. I understand.  

But my job is to represent all Grafton taxpayers, not just the small segment who are unhappy with this change. This will reduce taxes and save lives. I have the greatest respect for Grafton police officers who put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Consolidation of dispatch services will in no way impact the great job they do every day.

I appreciate those who voted to re-elect me to the Village Board. I promise to keep working hard for everyone in Grafton.

Lisa Uribe Harbeck



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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