St. Lawrence County dispatch experiment getting good marks

Published: Jul. 13, 2021 at 2:11 PM EDT
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CANTON, New York (WWNY) - A dispatching experiment in St. Lawrence County is going well. In fact, one county leader says he’s optimistic. This could lead to other towns and villages following Ogdensburg’s lead.

So far so good. A pilot program for Ogdensburg police dispatching is up and running at county 911.

“We’ve exchanged a lot of good information. We’ve established a fairly short, but important list of things we need to work together (on) to gain more information and learn about each other’s agency,” said Stephen Jellie, Ogdensburg city manager

The pilot program ends Wednesday. Then county and city officials will meet to determine if city police dispatch can be done permanently by the county 911 center – for just the third shift for now.

“I’m actually optimistic that things will work out for a plan on the shared services with Ogdensburg and St. Lawrence County,” said Bill Sheridan, St. Lawrence County Legislature chairman.

Sheridan expects a new county emergency dispatch committee to make a recommendation within weeks. Ogdensburg would like to transfer its third shift dispatching by October 1.

“It’s getting us in line really where the state and federal government want us to go, which is one consolidated 911 dispatch center,” said Jellie.

A few other communities already have county 911 do their police dispatching. The county handles all shifts for Norwood and Norfolk police. It does some second and third shift dispatching for Canton.

It remains to be seen if other communities will follow suit and want their police dispatching done directly out of the county 911 center.

But county officials are expecting that and getting ready. They say expansion to include every community could take a couple years.

“I think it would be a faster response plan for the entire county if we can get everyone involved in this plan,” said Sheridan.

Ogdensburg says it’s willing to wait until 2022 to transfer its two other shifts of police dispatching, if the county lays out a solid plan for doing so.

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