TRUCKEE — In what’s being described as a money-saving venture that won’t impact officer response times, three of Nevada County’s largest communities have now given the OK to consolidate police dispatch services into a regional center.
The Truckee Town Council unanimously approved the move at its Sept. 25 meeting, while the Grass Valley City
Council approved the matter with a 4-1 vote the same night and the Nevada City Council unanimously approved it the following evening.
The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office would be the fourth and final entity to join the group should the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approve the measure at its Tuesday meeting, said Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal.
In the meantime, Truckee’s dispatch services have already been transferred to Nevada City, where the consolidated NCSO center is located. This change took place Monday, said Truckee Police Capt. Harwood Mitchell.
Royal said this consolidation has been many years in the making.
“It’s been tough fiscally for all agencies for the past two, three years, and this is an opportunity to save money for all agencies, improve efficiencies and enhance officer safety,” he said.
The current annual expense for Truckee’s police dispatch service is about $550,000, and with the consolidation, the annual cost is expected to be about $368,000, thus an annual savings of about $185,000.
Savings this year for the town will be less than $185,000, said Tony Lashbrook, Truckee town manager, as a result of the consolidation taking place halfway through the 2012-13 fiscal year.
As for the other communities, it’s estimated Grass Valley will save $163,000 annually, while Nevada City will save $30,000, on top of avoiding a $30,000 service cost increase next year.
Consolidation means the shutting down of Grass Valley’s dispatch center as well as Truckee’s, which is located in the NCSO substation on Donner Pass Road.
“The building will remain as a sheriff substation and jail,” said Truckee Police Chief Adam McGill. “There just won’t be dispatch in it anymore.”
Usually, the substation employees six dispatchers for Truckee Police.
Recently, however, it has been operated by four dispatchers due to two vacant positions, Royal said.
As for the future of those four positions, Royal said one dispatcher will be transferred to NCSO in Nevada City and another will retire, while the other two have secured other employment — one in the private sector and the other with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
As for Grass Valley’s dispatch center, it will lose four full-time and two part-time dispatchers. However, Grass Valley’s Police Department stands to gain three positions: a clerk, a sergeant position and a vacant officer position.
The new consolidated dispatch center in Nevada City will also see an increase in employees, Royal said, going up from nine employees to 13 — one manager and 12 dispatchers — to cover the approximately 80,000 combined service calls the four agencies receive annually. Assuming the Nevada County supervisors join, Royal said the goal for full consolidation to take into effect is Nov. 1.
Margaret Moran is a reporter for the Sierra Sun, a sister publication of The Union based in Truckee. Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker contributed to this report.