Letter to the editor: Concerned about public safety cuts
April 16, 2009
With all the understandable concern about the possible closing of the North Tahoe Middle School, there is another impending closure that will also be a detriment to your community: the closing of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center in Tahoe.
The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted March 24 to accept the recommendations of the Matrix Consulting Group (which they hired at the cost of $80,000 taxpayer dollars) to consolidate the Placer County dispatch center to Auburn. This means when you call 911 with your emergency, you are getting dispatchers who are 75 miles away.
You are getting dispatchers who are working mandatory overtime, eight hours each, and even more when they have to absorb the workload of six Tahoe dispatchers (240 hours). You had better hope you know your exact location and that it shows up in the CAD (computer-aided dispatch) as a recognizable address because as skilled and knowledgable as those dispatchers are, they are not locals and do not know the local landmarks like the current dispatchers who have worked and lived in the Lake Tahoe/Truckee area for an average of 15 years each.
In addition is the jeopardy Tahoe deputies will face when they can’t relay their location promptly because of heavy traffic on the shared radio.
The Maxtrix consulting group has a history of recommending consolidation for smaller centers. When they couldn’t make a case for closing due to fiscal impact (the Tahoe center currently saves the county money by operating at half staffing), they made the argument that there isn’t enough work in Tahoe, all the while misrepresenting the actual number of calls for service the center generates. Public Safety Dispatch has been part of the community for 50 years. Please don’t let it go without a fight.