Ogdensburg figuring out how police will be dispatched to emergencies

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 5:07 PM EST
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - With the new year, Ogdensburg is figuring out how police will be dispatched to emergencies.

Wednesday morning, Ogdensburg’s interim city manager Andrea Smith and police chief Mark Kearns met to talk about the city’s dispatching operations after city council cut 2 dispatchers in the 2023 budget.

As of January 1, there are no longer police dispatchers.

The debate: when will 911 calls get answered by someone in Ogdensburg, or instead, at the St. Lawrence County dispatch center in Canton?

St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Matt Denner says dispatchers can handle overnight calls. Currently, Ogdensburg police officers are handling daytime calls.

“We could dispatch four of them during the midnight hours from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. safely. Currently, right now with the situation that we have, the call volume that the city has, I can’t add onto one more individual in that room,” he said.

In a statement about Wednesday’s meeting, Smith wrote: “The City is working with the County to ensure a smooth transition of 911 emergency dispatch. I anticipate submitting a resolution to the City Council for formal action at the upcoming January 9th City Council meeting.”

Denner says in Canton the county is doing renovations to the emergency center with hopes of handling more calls, but that is for the future, not right now.

“We’re going to go from a room that has four dispatch desks down to a room that takes up to eight. We are installing seven in the room and one backup in our dispatch manager’s office, which will accommodate any kind of room for expansion from the city of Ogdensburg or anybody else,” he said.

If more dispatching is done by the county, instead of Ogdensburg, there will be a cost to the city.

Denner says it’ll be up to the county legislature and city council to negotiate that price.