The City of Ogdensburg notified St. Lawrence County today (click here to read letter) that it will move forward with the planned cessation of Police Dispatching services within the City Police Department by the end of 2022 and it will require the County to radio dispatch 911 calls for assistance to City police cars instead of telephonically transferring callers to a City Police Dispatcher. The County currently radio dispatches City Fire and EMS assets to 911 calls for assistance as it does all other County Fire and EMS departments.
The City and County conducted a pilot test period in July 2021 to determine the workload requirements and changes that both entities would need to make to complete this transition. Since that pilot test period no progress has been made to move this initiative forward despite multiple requests by City officials to County officials to do so.
For over 25 years, St. Lawrence County has operated the 911 Emergency Services Communications Center that was intended to consolidate all emergency services (Police, Fire and EMS) into one location. The County is the designated Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) that contains the infrastructure to answer all 911 emergency calls for assistance, and the County receives all state and federal communications funding and grants for this function. The County manages dispatching services (call taking, radio dispatching, incident logging) for the County Sheriff’s Department, the New York State Police, several town and village police departments and all Fire and Emergency Medical Services departments. Consolidating the remaining police agencies into this consolidated emergency communications center is long overdue and cannot be delayed any longer.
Quote: Continuing to have multiple layers of emergency dispatching services and transferring emergency calls between agencies instead of direct radio dispatching significantly increases the risk of losing a caller, delays response time, complicates multi-agency response coordination and wastes taxpayer money duplicating services. The residents, visitors and businesses of St. Lawrence County pay well for these services, and they should not have to continue to pay twice for the same service, especially when paying twice makes this emergency life-saving service less efficient. The City sincerely hopes that the County will act decisively to complete this consolidation action in the interest of public safety and cost effectiveness.