Stevens Point, Portage Co. move closer to joint dispatch center - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Stevens Point, Portage Co. move closer to joint dispatch center

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -

Stevens Point and Portage County are one step closer to forming a joint 911 dispatch center.

Leaders there say this will provide better emergency services for people living there.

Right now one dispatch center handles the county's emergency calls while a separate dispatch center manages the city's.

Denise Schultz, Portage County's communications manager, says bringing everyone together is a good idea.

"It will make us better," she said.

But it's taken years to get to this point.

"They understood that they had staffing deficiencies, we did as well," said Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson. He said some city officials were worried they would lose control of their emergency services.

"Our concerns were based on how difficult would the transition be," said Halverson.

Portage County dispatchers say they're working with the city's employees to make sure everyone will be on the same page.

"Will there be certain things that come up? Yes, but we'll handle that," said Schultz.

"The negotiations are taken care of. We feel that we've come a long way cooperatively," added Halverson.

The mayor says under the latest agreement, all of the city's eight dispatchers have a guaranteed position at the new joint center. Both the city and the county say the change will make an impact.

"It puts the public safety needs as a main priority," said Halverson.

The plan will now go to the Police and Fire Commission for approval. Mayor Halverson says the plan will then need to pass several other city and county committees before it's finalized..

City and county leaders hope it will so all dispatchers can begin working out of this communication center by August 4.

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