Cambridge Proposes City-County Dispatch Merger - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Proposes City-County Dispatch Merger

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Cambridge's dispatch could soon be merged with the county (Photo: WBOC) Cambridge's dispatch could soon be merged with the county (Photo: WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  In Dorchester County, if you call 911 in the city of Cambridge, you get the dispatch office for the county.  If you need Cambridge police, stay on the line, because that call has to be transferred first.  Now the city wants to eliminate that extra step, and save some big bucks at the same time.

The savings are pretty hefty.  $220,000 per year that the city would not have to spend operating its own 911 call center.  The Cambridge dispatchers would move to the county's dispatch just five minutes down the road.  City Manager Sandra Tripp-Jones outlined expected benefits of the merger.

"If they call 911 for services, they will only be making one call for services, rather than calling 911, being transferred to city dispatch, and then city dispatch asking the same questions again.  Also we will have a much faster and much more coordinated response time," said Tripp-Jones.

That quickened response will especially be noted in cases where both city and county services are needed.

"With having everybody in one building at one time, we have a continuity of the dispatch, so that we can coordinate the dispatch much quicker.  We can get police, fire, and ems there in a much timelier fashion," said Dorchester County Sheriff James Phillips.

As with any merger, there is a question of layoffs.

"Timing is right perhaps you could say.  We have a retirement, other people who are moving to different functions, and some vacancies have occurred," said Tripp-Jones.

Meaning while the number of positions may shrink, no one will be left unemployed. But if this is so beneficial, why wasn't it done sooner?

"There is a new air of cooperation in the county now," Phillips said. "I can't tell you what I attribute it to, but it's a wonderful thing."

Not only is the closer cooperation making things easier, so too is that $220,000 in annual savings.

Dorchester County and Cambridge are not the only entities that have gone down this path of merging dispatches.  Talbot County and Easton have done the same thing.  Right now, they are already under the same roof, they are currently building a new center for them to work out of.  If Dorchester County accepts the city's proposal, the two centers would merge on July 1st.

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