Emergency dispatch service merger proposed

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Public safety is changing in the Capital Region and some 911 dispatch centers are considering consolidation.

This topic has been known to raise some concerns in local communities.

“Everyday hundreds of calls come through right here at Albany County dispatch but none of them are coming for the city of Albany Police but soon that could all change.”

Before first responders can come and help you they go through these guys.

“It is our first line of defense, it’s one of our most important positions in public safety.”

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple says soon these dispatchers could be taking, even more, calls if the City of Albany consolidates with them.

“If we think we can better serve the people of the City of Albany and the county then we’re going to move forward.”

He says it’s expensive and unrealistic for each and every town or city to run its own dispatch center so sharing services makes sense.

Those who would be absorbed have raised concerns.

“Things are going to change. And change is not a word that’s really received well in the public safety atmosphere.”

Sheriff Apple says if they are worried about job security, they don’t need to be.

“There will never be a job loss tied to a shared service or consolidation. It’s just not something I would stand for.”

He says the merger is still in the infant stages but he’ll do everything in his power to make the transition easy and seamless.

Albany County has already gone through something like this with Cohoes and Watervliet.

“We’ve proven that this can work. And it can work better.”

Albany County still has dispatchers who went through that merge. They say the change was difficult but in the long run, they were able to adjust.

The Albany Police Department was unavailable to comment on what the potential of shared services means for them.

Sheriff Apple says he’s ready to move forward.

“I’m very confident that if and when this happens that they will have a great working space and they will have great technology and once things settle down they’ll say well this isn’t all that bad.”

If you call 911 nothing will change. You will receive the same first responder services you’re used to.

Albany’s Acting Police Chief Robert Sears will be available on Friday to talk about sharing services with the county.

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