Truckee, Nevada City police departments look to trim dispatch costs
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; Truckee and Nevada City police departments are looking to lower costs of providing around-the-clock emergency dispatch services currently offered through a contract with the Nevada County Sheriffandamp;#8217;s Office.The sheriffandamp;#8217;s dispatch center in Nevada City has handled calls for the Nevada City Police Department under a contract poised to cost more than $133,000 for the coming year.The town of Truckee pays the county sheriffandamp;#8217;s office more than a half-million dollars annually to handle its dispatch duties at the sheriffandamp;#8217;s substation on Donner Pass Road.Both departments have approached the Grass Valley Police Department about providing the dispatch service at a lower cost, potentially taking a collective $683,000 away from the sheriffandamp;#8217;s office.andamp;#8220;Weandamp;#8217;re looking at all of our options right now,andamp;#8221; said NCPD Chief Jim Wickham, whose department doled out $128,544 to the sheriffandamp;#8217;s office in 2011 to handle NCPDandamp;#8217;s 5,500 dispatch calls, which composed more than 12 percent of the 68,000 calls in western county.With Nevada Cityandamp;#8217;s police departmentandamp;#8217;s $1.4 million budget representing more than 43 percent of the cityandamp;#8217;s $3.2 million in expenses, Wickham said he has no choice but to look for savings.Truckee Police Chief Adam McGill agrees.andamp;#8220;The sheriff may be the best game in town, but we owe it to the taxpayers to weigh every option,andamp;#8221; said McGill, whose department paid $564,157 of its nearly $4 million police budget in 2011 to the sheriffandamp;#8217;s office to field approximately 13,500 calls, representing 39.2 percent of eastern county dispatch calls made.andamp;#8220;It hurts to write that check every year,andamp;#8221; McGill said.Should the sheriffandamp;#8217;s office lose the dispatch contracts for the Nevada City and Truckee police departments, presenting nearly 4.6 percent of the sheriffandamp;#8217;s overall $31.1 million budget, staff would have to be cut, said Sheriff Keith Royal.andamp;#8220;If they can come to some kind of agreement where they can maintain the level of service and save money, we would be supportive of that,andamp;#8221; Royal said.Nevada Cityandamp;#8217;s dispatch cost is set to increase by more than $5,000 as negotiations for next yearandamp;#8217;s preliminary $133,800 dispatch contract continue, according to Nevada City records.andamp;#8220;My only option is to speak with Grass Valley and see what they are anticipating,andamp;#8221; Wickham said.However, Royal said the proposed increase doesnandamp;#8217;t even cover the $160,000 cost to his department to provide the dispatch service.andamp;#8220;Weandamp;#8217;re subsidizing them,andamp;#8221; Royal said.With headquarters less than a mile from downtown Nevada City, at 950 Maidu Ave., the sheriffandamp;#8217;s office often assists NCPD in police services. If the Nevada City went elsewhere for dispatch services, Royal said it would impact his departmentandamp;#8217;s assistance response time in Nevada City.andamp;#8220;The county has provided us with excellent service, but weandamp;#8217;re all victims of the economy,andamp;#8221; Wickham said.If Truckee Police transferred dispatch services, Royal said the impact would be more pronounced.The sheriffandamp;#8217;s Truckee substation not only handles dispatch for eastern Nevada County, it also has a 12-inmate holding facility. Without the proposed $550,000 for Truckee dispatch contract for fiscal year 2012-13, Royal said he would have to close the facility, leaving eastern county without a jail and potentially causing an issue for transporting inmates, especially during severe winter weather.But Truckee wonandamp;#8217;t be abandoning the sheriffandamp;#8217;s office for dispatch anytime soon, McGill said, because any transition would take at least a year.andamp;#8220;Weandamp;#8217;ll be with the sheriff for the foreseeable future,andamp;#8221; McGill said. andamp;#8220;There would have to be a lot of preparation and infrastructure. You canandamp;#8217;t just flip a switch.andamp;#8221;
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