Dispatch merger in Portage County finalized - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Dispatch merger in Portage County finalized

STEVENS POINT (WAOW) - After two years of study and negotiations, Stevens Point and Portage County approved an agreement to create one emergency dispatch center by Aug. 4, authorities said Thursday.

The Portage County Board of Supervisors provided the final approval this week, agreeing to take over the city's police and fire department dispatching out of its newly expanded communications center in the sheriff's office, Sheriff John Charewicz said.

The county board vote on the merger was unanimous, he said. The Stevens Point City Council and its Police and Fire Commission approved the deal earlier.

"A lot of hard work and long hours went into this plan, with multiple studies, endless meetings and lots of internal staff communications. It was a real struggle at times," the sheriff said in a statement. "I’m pretty proud of the folks that helped put this together."

The merger creates nine new positions in the county's operation, and city dispatchers who wish to become county employees will be offered jobs, Charewicz said.

Chief Deputy Daniel Kontos said the single communications center will improve public safety, improve responder safety, improve responses to calls for service and provide better coordination among public safety agencies.

"And do so in a fiscally responsible fashion. It’s about time," Kontos said.

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