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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 02-01-2013, 7:44 AM
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For a little background -

If I remember correctly (IIRC), all of the fire trucks in London UK are owned by a private company. I am not sure how that is working out. The UK also had a big plan to merge all of their fire dispatch centers into 9 regional operations. That deal fell apart. (I am not sure if it included privatizing the dispatchers or not). Denmark has a mostly privatized fire and ambulance service (Falck).

In the USA, I recall a recent article about the FAA using many more contract control towers than in the past. That seems to be working out OK. The US Postal Service seems to be slowly but surely being eaten up by the privately owned overnight delivery companys.

Many communities in the USA are served by private ambulance companys. There are a few privately owned FDs in the USA, but they are very rare. The USA does not have private police forces, but there are many private armed security guards. (They mostly protect large busineses and the richer residential neighborhoods).

I think that only 8% of USA workers are unionized now.
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Old 02-01-2013, 9:42 AM
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I'm not so sure that EU experiences would be relevant in the US. There is a much different demographic and regulatory climate here, and, we must recognize that an organization like Falck is 107 years old and has enjoyed an opportunity to refine its relationship with Danes and Europe through two World Wars and the menace of Communism. Frame that in perspective: I would suspect it's just a little bit different than an American group of investors and speculators who do consulting swooping in to bail out a management crisis based on unwillingness to commit to adequate staffing levels and police officer overtime.

Just sayin'.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 02-01-2013, 9:43 AM
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I live in Lawrence, and have over 30 years experience in emergency services. FWIW, the township dispatchers are police only, Fire and EMS are handled by the county. I dont understand why they didn't go to Mercer county, probably could have just moved their existing 5 dispatchers over there.

Hunterdon has had consolidated dispatching for a very long time, and Somerset is starting to move to this model too.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Old 02-01-2013, 10:15 AM
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902 you just responded to a very small part of my post.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaburbano View Post
Yeah this isnt a good Idea. As someone who has worked for the largest 911 system in the world, privatizing a vital government service, where emergency responders lives are at stake besides that of the public , to private entities to save some money is ridiculous and can be deadly. Call takers and dispatchers are a vital portion of any 911 system. Not everyone can do this job.
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So there is a difference, but you wont know until you are the first responder calling for help, or you are the person who needs help and are dealing with call takers or dispatcher who dont know what they are doing.

911, its not their lives, its your life that's at stake.
Given what a colossal failure the UCT system has been in NYC since it was implemented, both in terms of putting the public in danger and costing over $2 billion, I wouldn't be too quick to extol the virtues of how much better a government run service is versus a privatized service.

New York City confirms new 911 system is mess - NY Daily News

Last edited by Chauffeur6; 02-01-2013 at 10:44 AM..
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  #26 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2013, 8:02 AM
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This move by Lawrence Twp was what I consider to be a knee jerk reaction.... As a previous volunteer and employee of public safety services in Lawrence Twp, I have seen this type of "knee jerk" reaction before. The town is in desperate need of more employees across the board in terms of public safety. It seems every time there is a budgetary issue, they look to cut public safety jobs because from a black and white stand point, it saves a lot of $$$. However no one looks as the flip side, the end result...

Lawrence previously just laid off police officers and now the dispatchers. The police dept has also seen many community programs axed. Now there is talk of eliminating the twp run ems services, which is a source of revenue for the town, and going back to a contract service. As stated before, the contract service in public safety has it major flaws; inexperience personnel who don't know the area, etc. The town has seen this first hand with their contracted EMS services in the past, so why they would again make this move and privatize a even more important piece of the public safety system, the dispatchers, is beyond me...

One can only hope that no one gets killed of seriously hurt because of a flawed system...
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Old 02-02-2013, 9:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Griggs View Post
This move by Lawrence Twp was what I consider to be a knee jerk reaction.... As a previous volunteer and employee of public safety services in Lawrence Twp, I have seen this type of "knee jerk" reaction before. The town is in desperate need of more employees across the board in terms of public safety. It seems every time there is a budgetary issue, they look to cut public safety jobs because from a black and white stand point, it saves a lot of $$$. However no one looks as the flip side, the end result...

Lawrence previously just laid off police officers and now the dispatchers. The police dept has also seen many community programs axed. Now there is talk of eliminating the twp run ems services, which is a source of revenue for the town, and going back to a contract service. As stated before, the contract service in public safety has it major flaws; inexperience personnel who don't know the area, etc. The town has seen this first hand with their contracted EMS services in the past, so why they would again make this move and privatize a even more important piece of the public safety system, the dispatchers, is beyond me...

One can only hope that no one gets killed of seriously hurt because of a flawed system...
This whole thing is unfortunate, and I have a great deal of empathy for everyone involved, but these are the choices the elected leaders make. If they keep getting elected, their views might really represent the views of the other citizens in the community. The other issue is public outreach. Over the course of fifteen years in Northeastern NJ and another fifteen years in the Midwest, I was unwillingly embroiled in more politics than I felt comfortable. The one certainty is that if your chiefs/captain and their corporate officers (the president, VP, treasurer, etc.) don't reach out to the public, the only thing the public sees is their council people. Once someone gets elected to office, they develop this pretentiousness that can put down a whole bunch of good people just because they don't agree with their perspective. We don't find solutions with stakeholder involvement anymore. We create executive fiats and decrees like the Roman emipre. We see that every day on the TV. Our legislators, both local and national, have lost the ability to solve problems and have, instead, adopted this "we'll let the private sector tell us how we'll solve our problems." Then this is what happens. Look at everything that's been happening in the last 12 years. EVERYTHING seems to be a poorly contrived knee jerk reaction these days.

For law enforcement services, I only think a ways east of you in the shore towns where there are a handful of "full bird" cops and a whole lot of Special II's handling much of the call volume in the township. Not that some of them aren't "good," but someone with a career may have more personal investment than someone who is a part-timer.

I came up in EMS. I joined a Northeastern NJ volley squad while I was still in high school because I heard them paging for members to go on calls over and over on my scanner, and all I was doing at the time was sitting around. 33 years later and a bunch of other public sector jobs and a few private sector ones, too, here I am - no longer on a bus (or fire truck), but still listening to my scanner, learning how my community really operates. Old schooler that I am, I come from the days of a general fund operating budget where ambulance service didn't raid the community or private insurers for supplemental fees for revenue. I wouldn't put TV time aside to volunteer just for the sake of making revenue for the town unless there was some kind of quid pro quo (a tax break for volunteering, hiring preference for municipal employment that they're not going to privatize, ?).

Technology makes dispatching from elsewhere all possible. While we were involved in a dispute with cellular carriers a while back, they had ALL of their wireless 9-1-1 calls answered by a call center in Canada (!). They weren't even subject to American laws (!). Imagine your worst credit card support adventure happening calling 9-1-1 or radioing for assistance if this were some other place in the world that had somewhat English-speaking expats that the money people thought were good enough to answer calls. With VoIP telephony and RoIP systems, the only appealing thing about maintaining local services if all you care about is money, is that they are staffed by LOCAL PEOPLE who live and work in the community. While it might be an expense, keeping your locals working is a healthy expense.

Here's a wild idea, but why don't you run for township council? Get other stakeholders to run for these positions, too. You actually make sense and I think you would have a good chance of getting into office because you can make a cogent point and you have a very important platform. I mean, look what happened without you. We need more people who can perform their own analyses and make holistic decisions that benefit their constituents, not just in terms of money (and I know that statement gets flames - but I sincerely believe that taking care of holistic issues on the front-end leads to back-end fiscal responsibility).
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  #28 (permalink)  
Old 02-02-2013, 1:15 PM
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Can a private business operate operate on frequencies allocated to public safety? Will they switch to the business band? Can a legitimate public safety (government) licensee "patch" business band to public safety allocations? What about MOU's for interoperability and operating on SPEN or Vtac's or Utac's. Can any FCC rules experts out there answer these questions. And yes, This is a terrible idea.
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Old 02-02-2013, 1:50 PM
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The towns hold the licenses for the town's actvities. They are replacing the dispatchers, not the function, equipment or uses as far as the FCC is concerned.
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