Today's Question: What would be the best way to manage Joint Communications?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | 1:01 p.m. CDT

The Columbia City Council met Monday and discussed possible solutions to issues Public Safety Joint Communications has had with staffing and administration. In recent years, the center has been struggling.

In 2008, Joint Communications received nearly 70,000 incoming calls to 911, according to information presented by Zim Schwartze, interim director at Joint Communications, and more dispatchers are needed in order to serve its areas of coverage properly. 

"We're very efficient, but we're sinking," Schwartze said.

Schwartze also stated that in order for the center to run more efficiently, a full-time director would be needed to fill the Office of Emergency Management. Along with a director, other positions would be branched out to cover other areas with more specific duties, unlike in the current system.

She provided a layout for the following 18 months that would cost approximately $62,000 and a 36-month agenda in which she hopes to concentrate on completing a new mobile back-up Operations Center and add additional communications operators.

Schwartze also suggested hiring additional communication operators and starting to prepare the user agencies in the area for a fee increase.

What would be the best way to manage the Joint Communications issue?

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