Public Safety and Security Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5531

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING MUTUAL CONSOLIDATION OF DISPATCH FACILITIES.

Vote Date:

3/18/2014

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/11/2014

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Public Safety & Security Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Allowing two or more municipalities to merge and create a region dispatch authority.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE:

The substitute language would permit municipalities that enter into an inter-local agreement to consolidate dispatch services to create a governing board. Representatives from each municipality would be appointed to such a governing board, with the authorities and functions prescribed by the legislative body.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

None expressed.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Paul M. Formica, First Selectman, Town East Lyme: testified in support of the bill stating “.. saving money is secondary to enhancing public safety, the expanded capabilities that would occur when multiple municipalities join together under a common entity established by this bill would do both. Once established as a 3 town regional center …the groundwork will have been completed to add more towns in the near future thereby creating more efficient and safer communities.”

Daniel M. Steward, First Selectman, Town of Waterford: testified in support stating “..the State's interest in regionalizing services and dispatch is a great one to begin with.” He also indicated “We have experience with several other authorities where this type of legislation has been enacted and is working very well…reference to the Health districts and SCCRA a trash to energy facility in Preston, CT.” He request that the Town of Waterford be enact to the bill to allow municipalities the flexibility that is needed to implement the regionalization of the dispatch organizations.

Betsy Gara, Executive Director, CT Council of Small Towns (COST): submitted written testimony of support of the bill. COST encourage Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to be regionalize which would reduce costs without damaging the public safety response.

Mike Muszynski, Senior Legislative Associate, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM): testified in support of HB-5531 “There are constraints currently in place that prevent towns and cities to effectively consolidate these public safety dispatch centers. The bill would allow these communities to establish a dispatch authority, a similar mechanism that allows towns and cities to consolidate their public health functions into health districts.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

Roberta Coppola, President, Trumbull Police Union: testified in opposition to HB-5531 for the following reasons; 1) Impedes the implementation of new dispatch protocols & procedures; 2) Concerns with officer safety; 3) Addition of liability to our Communication Officers' positions; 4) Added liability with prisoner monitoring from other jurisdictions; 5) Insufficient manpower; 6) Civilianization & privatization of police bargaining unit positions. Instead of reinventing the dispatch facility wheel, the union would rather see increased funding for the replacement of old & outdated dispatching infrastructure. The union believe the public is and safer when the combination of highly trained sworn police officers and civilian dispatchers are utilized to answer 911 calls.

Reported by: Daniele Mealha

Date: 3/20/2014