by Erica Thomas, 1819 News
TRUSSVILLE — The City of Trussville will discontinue police dispatching services at the beginning of the year and police will be dispatched through Jefferson County 911, a move the Trussville Fire and Rescue Department made four years ago. While the City says it makes financial sense, some residents are concerned about safety.
A new petition calls on the City to keep Trussville police dispatch in-house.
“This decision deeply concerns me as it threatens the close-knit community spirit we cherish here in Trussville,” the petition reads.
“Our dispatchers do more than just answer calls; they are our city’s eyes and ears. They provide critical support to our police force by ensuring they have accurate information at all times,” the petition adds. “Without them, response times could increase significantly which could potentially put lives at risk.”
Residents continue to say the change could impact response times, but Trussville Fire chief Tim Shotts said since the fire department moved to the county dispatch in 2019, response times have improved.
“From my perspective, it improved things,” Shotts said. “When you dial 911 from the city of Trussville, it goes to Jefferson County 911. If Trussville dispatchers are dispatching, it adds an extra step because they have to transfer it to us and then it gets dispatched. So, it actually decreases the amount of time it takes to get a call dispatched.”
Mayor Buddy Choat told The Trussville Tribune that it makes better financial sense and will not impact citizens’ safety.
“I don’t want to do anything just for the bottom line dollar,” Choat said. “If this is going to affect what our police department and our fire department has built up over the years, we’re not going to do it.”
Choat said the City will save money, and there will be no disruption of service.
“We’re charged with being responsible for the dollars that are spent in Trussville and so there is a significant savings, I’m not going to say there’s not but really the idea of not hurting anything we have overrode any concerns we have about keep doing what we’re doing,” Choat said.
The City of Trussville is working with Jefferson County 911 for the transition. Choat said some of the dispatchers will be offered jobs with the county to cover the City of Trussville. The county will need six to eight new dispatchers to handle the area. However, the county is not under the Retirement Systems of Alabama.
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