Saline Police Dispatch to Transition to Metro Dispatch On April 2


For years, Saline’s finest have been dispatched to car crashes, bank robberies, domestic situations and other incidents from co-workers inside the police department.

That all challenges on April 2.

At 10 a.m., the department’s dispatch center will go offline. Future dispatches will come from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Metro Dispatch.

The city outsourced the public safety service as a cost-saving measure after using Federal ARPA money on an infrastructure project, which brought down the fund balance and triggered city staff to recommend cost-cutting measures. However, while cost-cutting was the initial reason for the transition, Chief Radzik said she believes using Metro Dispatch will bolster public safety.

Reviewing the events of Aug. 3, when Amber Jo Thomas was fatally shot by her ex-boyfriend on the former UAW property, Radzik came to see the importance of Metro Dispatch. She expressed this at Monday’s meeting of Saline City Council when she updated council on the transition.

“Our dispatcher did a phenomenal job that day,” Radzik said.

But, she quickly became overwhelmed fielding multiple 911 calls and tracking the officers. Metro Dispatch, which has several dispatchers on duty at all hours, took over.

Chelsea's is the only other municipal police department in the county with its own dispatch department. Universities also have their own departments.

Radzik and the SPD have been working to make the transition seamless.

One of the department’s daytime dispatchers will stay on and work at the front desk during daytime business hours as a community relations person. They are also interviewing for a part-time community relations person. In addition to taking calls and information from residents who visit the department during the day, the community relations person will help with freedom of information requests and other tasks.

One change residents will need to get used to is lack of off-hour access to the lobby and a person at the front desk normally staffed by dispatch. The doors will be closed and locked at night. Anyone coming the department can use a phone to call police and ask for help. That call will go to Metro Dispatch who will dispatch a police officer to the department.

To assist with communication with residents, every department officer will have their phone number listed on the city’s website.

If someone comes to the station with someone in pursuit, an officer will have the ability to let them in the door remotely.

As for non-emergency services that many residents are accustomed to from the SPD dispatcher answering 429-7911, that’s not going to as robust. Messages will be left. In the case of a lost dog, the SPD will still take them to the department and send info out social media. Radzik said most lost dogs are returned to owners within 45 minutes.

The SPD will keep its radio equipment at the department for awhile, Much of it will be returned to the county.

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This is one of the worst decisions that Saline City Government has ever made.  Citizens will not receive the exemplary service that Saline City Dispatchers have provided for decades.  “If it’s not broke don’t fix it “. Saline City Council is self serving and disgustingly dysfunctional !

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