The Maryville City Council on Monday approved an ordinance that awards a contract to SCG Consulting services for consultation related to the creation of a consolidated 911 dispatch center.
Maryville City Manager Greg McDanel on Monday said there are multiple public safety answer points in Nodaway County: three dispatch centers — one operated by Maryville Public Safety, one operated by the Sheriff’s Office and one operated by Northwest Missouri State University Police Department’s dispatch center on campus.
Together they provide telecommunications services for four law enforcement agencies, 11 rural fire and rescue districts and one countywide ambulance service.
Calls to 911 made inside the city limits are routed to Public Safety, while rural calls are handled by the Sheriff’s Office.
“The systems can create a challenge for efficiency and length of response,” he said.
On Jan. 24 the City of Maryville released a request for proposals seeking an updated study related to the consolidation of public safety communications throughout Nodaway County.
Bids were opened Feb. 14 and included the following proposals: $20,000 from IXP Corporation (Princeton, New Jersey); $22,000 from SCG Consulting Services (Bellevue, Nebraska); and $38,140 from Tusa Consulting Services (St. Tammany, Louisiana).
The board approved the middle bid from SCG Consulting Services, in part because the proposed principal on the project, Stacen Gross was the author of the two previous studies performed on this topic, one in 1996 the other in 2001.
“They’re also familiar with Midwest dispatching needs compared to the New Jersey and Louisiana firms,” McDanel explained.
He told the council that the FY’18 budget does include $10,000 in the general fund for this study, while Nodaway County agreed to provide $10,000. The remaining $2,000 is proposed from a general fund line item in the public safety budget.
Public Safety Director Keith Wood told council members he feels good about the proposal.
“I think that Mr. Gross will be able to walk in the door and be closer to up-to-speed, than it would take somebody to come in and learn the nuts and bolts of the location he’s visiting. I think we’re getting a good product.”
He said, as of Monday, he saw a study put out by Missouri Department of Public Safety dated Dec. 31 of 2017, that leads him to believe Missouri is headed toward a regionalization concept.
Wood thought the consolidation plan would work right in with the new statewide concept.
“I think it might place us as a forerunner as opposed to letting our dispatch services go somewhere else in the event the state tries to regionalize locations,” he said.
Mayor Jason McDowell said this issue has been looked at multiple times over many years.
“It sounds like it’s pretty hopeful that it will push forward this time and actually happen,” he said. “So that’s great.”
McDanel told him that there are a lot of things falling into place this time, making this pretty tangible for the city.
Councilman Jerry Riggs asked if someone could explain exactly what this study will study.
“It studies several things, obviously the locations, the technology,” McDanel said. “It will study the operating procedures, the governing board.”
Wood said it would also offer recommendations as to the proposed governance, not only where it should be, but who should operate it, staffing needs of the various locations.
He used an example of dispatch moving out of the jail, it could then need backfilled.
“There’s a perception among the public that this could be a cost saver,” Wood said. “And I think that it will identify whether that is the reality of it or if it’s more of a break even or perhaps even cost a little bit more.”
He said he’d rather approach the idea from more of an effectiveness aspect than a cost-saving one.
Councilwoman Renee Riedel asked how long a study of this caliber would take.
Wood said 12 weeks.
In his report, the city manager also said the City of Maryville was ranked the sixth safest city in Missouri by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.
McDanel said that overall, Missouri’s violence and property crime are a bit high compared to the nationwide average, however, Maryville ranks as a safe community.
The annual rankings are based on statistics provided by the FBI Uniform Crime Report along with population data and internal research. Cities were ranked based on the number of reported violent crimes and property crimes per 1,000 people.
A full ranking of Missouri cities can be found online at: www.alarms.org/safest-cities-in-missouri-2018/.
By Skye Pournazari | The Maryville Forum