MEDFORD, N.J. (CBS) — Burlington County’s Central Communications gets about 500 9-1-1 calls per day. They also dispatch police officers to calls in 28 of the county’s 40 towns. Starting in January the county will take over the dispatch duties for Medford Township’s Police Department.
Six full-time and two part-time dispatchers will be laid-off in a budget cutting move by Medford Township. Mayor Bob Martin says it will save $600,000 annually in the $23 million budget because local dispatchers are a duplication of services.
“It’s hard to tax people twice”, says Martin.
Taxpayers already fund the county’s call center with 112 dispatchers.
“As far as resident are concerned we haven’t had any complaints about response times or public safety issues”, says Mt Laurel Police Chief Dennis Cribben.
Mt Laurel laid-off its dispatchers in July and switched over to the county. “It was a tough time for the Department initially”, said Cribben referring to the emotions involved when it comes to laying off good employees, especially in this economy.
Medford Township’s Mayor says residents will get service comparable to what they have now. He says 65 percent of Medford’s 911 calls come from cell phones and those have been handled by the count dispatchers without complaint.
Reported By Robin Rieger, CBS 3