County embraces expanded 911 dispatch service

Board agrees to assume duties for Grafton, which is expected to increase call volume, cost $225,000
Ozaukee Press staff

The County Board agreed last week to have the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Office take over dispatching for the Village of Grafton.

While the transfer of calls was a controversial matter for the village, the County Board on May 2 approved the decision, 23-0-1, with Supr. Patrick Marchese abstaining.

The Sheriff’s Office began handling 911 calls for the Village of Grafton on April 24 — the first phase of the dispatching transfer. 

According to Grafton Village Administrator Jesse Thyes, there were a few hiccups at first but the transition has been going smoothly overall. 

The village asked the Sheriff’s Office to handle emergency calls after it ran into difficulties with its Emergency Medical Dispatch program and was forced to seek alternatives.

The resolution the County Board approved last week calls for the county to hire three more dispatchers to handle all of the village calls — a move estimated to cost the county $225,000. No additional equipment is needed, Sheriff Jim Johnson said, adding he expects the department’s call volume to increase by 25%.

While the Sheriff’s Office can handle Grafton’s 911 calls with the current staff, he said, the move to full-time dispatching would require the department to have another dispatcher on its first and second shifts.

Johnson said he would offer Grafton’s dispatchers the opportunity to apply for the jobs in an expedited process, noting they would require less training than many applicants.

“Grafton’s dispatchers attended the same training as our dispatchers,” Johnson said. “If I hire Grafton dispatchers, it would decrease the learning curve.”

It would also help ensure the dispatchers don’t leave their current posts before the Sheriff’s Office takes over all Grafton dispatching in January, he said.

The Sheriff’s Office currently handles about 70,000 calls a year.

When the Sheriff’s Office began dispatching for the City of Port Washington and villages of Saukville and Thiensville, the county also picked up those costs.

County officials have long touted the fact that consolidated dispatching reduces the costs for municipal residents, who otherwise pay for dispatching via their police department with local taxes and for the county dispatching in their county taxes.



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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.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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