Decision to transfer 911 calls sparks more protests

Residents, police staff blast board for turning over dispatch service to county
Ozaukee Press Staff

Several village residents and members of the Grafton Police Department voiced their discontent to the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday in response to a Village Board decision last week to transfer 911 calls to Ozaukee County’s Sheriff’s Department. 

    “If safety is the No. 1 priority, moving the dispatch to an outside source is irresponsible,” dispatcher Calvin Gall said during the public comments portion of the meeting.

    “The anti-local law enforcement and dispatch services view that was pushed forward and voted for by members of its own Public Safety Committee is shameful.”  

    Others in attendance said the decision to transfer calls didn’t take into account the public’s input.

    “The voting populace in the village doesn’t have a full understanding about the impact of losing local control of its dispatch center,” police officer Dan Radtke said.

    “My concern is their voice isn’t being heard by the Village Board.”

    The Public Safety Committee did not respond to any of the comments made about the transferring of calls because it was not on the meeting’s agenda.

    “Public safety comes first regardless,” Village President Jim Brunnquell told Ozaukee Press after the meeting. “The Village Board will continue to evaluate and provide the best possible service to its residents.”

    Starting in May, the village will have its emergency calls handled by Ozaukee County’s dispatch center. That decision came after Aurora Health Care requested in February that the village enter into a mutual termination agreement, which would have left the village without a medical director for its emergency medical dispatch program.

    According to officials, Aurora ended its partnership with Grafton because the village did not achieve accreditation for the EMD program, which provides dispatchers with a series of questions to determine the appropriate level of response in a medical emergency.

    The county’s dispatch center also receives its medical direction from Aurora physician Steven Zills, who was the medical director for the village. 

    Currently, the county is working toward accreditation for its EMD program.

    The transition of dispatch services will occur in two phases. Beginning in May, all EMD-related calls, which make up about 11% of the 911 calls from the village, will be handled by the county.

    At the end of the year, all 911 calls will be dispatched from the county.

    During last week’s Village Board meeting, trustees voted, 4-2, to partner with the county’s dispatch center. Voting in favor were Brunnquell and trustees Tom Krueger, David Antoine and Lisa Uribe Harbeck.

     Trustees David Liss and Sue Meinecke dissented. Trustee Dean Proefrock was not at the meeting.

    In December 2015, the village entered into a partnership with Aurora and Priority Dispatch, an emergency medical software company, to implement the EMD program supported by a $37,105 Aurora Foundation grant.

    The agreement specified that the village had to earn accreditation. 

    When Priority Dispatch conducted an on-site review, concerns arose about the efficiency of the program, which eventually resulted in Aurora ending its partnership with the village.



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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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