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NY town fires all 4 PD dispatchers without warning to save $300K

Date: 2011-12-04
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Fallsburg (NY) has fired its four civilian police dispatchers  in a move that blindsided dispatchers and union representatives but which Supervisor Steve Vegliante said will save the town more than $300,000.

According to fired dispatcher George Gibson, who just last month celebrated his 25-year anniversary on the job, Police Chief Simmie Williams delivered the news during an 8:30 a.m. meeting on Nov. 30.  Gibson and Fallsburg's other three dispatchers were then told to turn in their IDs and badges.  "We were like, you've got to be kidding," Gibson told the  MiddletownTimes Herald-Record. "Right now I'm still in a haze, because it just turned my world inside out."

The abrupt firings came after months of discussion and an overture to the county about assuming the town's dispatch duties, which will now by shared by officers, Vegliante said.

The dismissals partly reflect a changing role for the town's dispatchers, he said. Dispatchers once ran license-plate inquiries and filed criminal complaints and accident reports, tasks computers have enabled officers to do, Vegliante said. "It got to the point where the only thing (dispatchers) had to do was answer the phone."

He predicts the town will be able to use the savings to hire at least one additional police officer and maybe two. The fired dispatchers will also be given priority consideration for future openings, he said.  "It's a lousy decision and not a fun thing to do," Vegliante said. "But it's the best thing to do, not just from a fiscal standpoint but from a safety standpoint."

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via 911lifeline, from Middletown, New York, Times Herald-Record, 12/3/11)

Read the full Times Herald-Record news story here

For more information on the Town of Fallsburg, see townoffallsburg.com

Patch image via patchgallery.com

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