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North Tonawanda: Dispatch deal discussed

Fri, Jul 21st 2017 02:05 pm
Niagara County and North Tonawanda elected leaders and public safety officials, along with officers from the North Tonawanda police Benevolent Association, met Friday morning to discuss the details of a five-year deal that modifies the county's dispatch system based on input from North Tonawanda police.
The deal comes after NTPBA members expressed concerns, including slow response times, regarding the current dispatch system. The county took over dispatch duties from NT in 2012.
The deal establishes a five-year pact that requires the county to operate a separate dispatch channel for the North Tonawanda Police.
A memorandum of agreement between the city and the PBA established concessions in the PBA contract to be used toward the cost of maintaining a separate channel on the county radio system for North Tonawanda.
A separate intermunicipal agreement between the city and county will establish that channel.
The agreement - brokered by Niagara County Legislature Majority Leader Randy R. Bradt, Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour, city leaders, and the PBA - requires the county to hire three full-time and four part-time dispatchers to monitor a separate radio frequency to be used by police in the city of 31,000.
According to numbers released Friday by the office of the mayor (which are subject to change slightly), the annual cost for a single channel will grow from $117,422 for 2017 to $343,130 in 2021.
City police officers would give up 2 percent of their upcoming raise for 2018.
In 2017, the PBA would provide $31,500 toward the agreement and, from 2018-21, it would provide $126,357 each year.
The total cost to the city over five years would be $418,500, while the county would contribute $31,500 for 2017 and an additional $50,000 each year from 2018-21.
"Our taxpayers in North Tonawanda deserve a direct return on their investment in public safety, and this ensures that," Bradt said. "Our county dispatch relies state-of-the-art technology, but this ensures it is being used in a manner that best protects the residents of NT and our local law enforcement officers."
Alderman-at-Large Jeff Glatz, also deeply involved in the negotiations, said the development was welcome.
"We had two goals: to protect the lives of our citizens and the lives of our police officers," he said. "This agreement does both. It ensures quick response times in a densely populated city, while relying on our county to provide a direct benefit to city taxpayers that help fund our sheriff's office."

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