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Published April 02, 2012, 10:12 PM

EGF Could Combine Dispatch Centers With Crookston, Polk County

EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - Instead of three centers, Polk County commissioners want to narrow it down to one, which would combine Polk County dispatch with the East Grand Forks and Crookston police departments.

EAST GRAND FORKS, MN (WDAZ-TV) - East Grand Forks City Council members are considering sharing safety dispatch centers.

Instead of three centers, Polk County commissioners want to narrow it down to one, which would combine Polk County dispatch with the East Grand Forks and Crookston police departments.

As new dispatch equipment is introduced, officials want to eliminate the $200,000 cost by joining forces.

The big question on many minds is if using only one dispatch center will effect response time.

"Now's the time if we're going to do this it would be a good idea," said Council member Mike Pokrzywinski.

Instead of spending money on an equipment upgrade for each facility, Polk County could save a whopping $200,000 by teaming up.

"Quite a bit of savings," said Polk County Commission, Warren Strandell.

But there's worry joining forces would hinder the quality of service.

"Question whether our service, both prevision to both our community members and our officers would be as good as it currently is," said East Grand Forks Chief of Police Michael Hedlund.

"One priority of course is it always has to be the public is safe and public safety doesn't suffer," said Pokrzywinski.

The Chief of Police says he's not worried about emergency calls, but the familiarity of dispatchers to local roads.

"You maybe don't know the address exactly but you can give a general description of the area, lots of times the officer working the desk is going to know what you're talking about, they're going to be able to get that information to the officers in the field and they're going to be able to respond better than someone that's sitting in a desk in Crookston that doesn't necessarily know the community very well," said Hedlund.

If a decline in service remains a question, city council members don't think it will pass.

"If it does hinder it then I'm not going to support it," said Pokrzywinski.

But, Polk County Commissioners don't think teaming up will have any influence on performance.

"We want to maintain the service we have and probably improve on it and still save some money in the process," said Strandell.

Council members say it will be a long time before anything is set in stone. And East Grand Forks police will stand their ground if they feel it could hurt the community.

"If its not broken, don't fix it, In my opinion its not broken," said Hedlund.

The East Grand Forks city council is also looking into the current plan in Fargo-Moorehead and is interested in seeing how that works for officers before teaming up with Crookston and Polk County.

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