Board Votes to Allow Golden Valley to Use County 911 Dispatch
What does switching to Hennepin County's dispatch system mean for Golden Valley residents?
At a Dec. 11 board meeting, the Hennepin County Board voted to include the City of Golden Valley in the county's public safety dispatch system beginning in 2014.
The change to move 911 dispatch services from the City of Edina to Hennepin County will save the City of Golden Valley about $150,000, according to Mayor Shep Harris.
"Residents will still get the same top quality service that they receive today when they call 911," Harris said. "But the shift will allow the City to either address other issues that we’ve cut in our budget, or shift resources, or reduce taxes."
The vote comes after the county board denied Golden Valley's previous request for dispatch services in 2010.
The original resolution that was brought before the board during a Dec. 6 meeting stated that Golden Valley would switch to Hennepin County's dispatch system on Jan. 1, 2014, but Commissioner Peter McLaughlin had a problem with that date.
"When it comes to public safety it's important to err on the side of caution," McLaughlin said. "My concern here is that we should err again on the side of caution and make sure that we don’t compromise the services that are already provided to a third of our residents."
Representatives from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office estimated that adding the City of Golden Valley would bring 12,000 more calls a year to the county's dispatch service - capacity that Sergeant Darrell Huggett said they could handle.
Despite reassurances from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, McLaughlin asked commissioners to push the date back, allowing Golden Valley to use Hennepin County's dispatch when the new Hennepin County Emergency Communications Facility opens, which is near the end of 2014.
Commissioners voted in favor of the amended resolution 4 to 3.
Golden Valley's 911 dispatch provider switched from St. Louis Park to the City of Edina in 2011. The County Board voted to allow Hopkins to use the county dispatch center last June, leaving Golden Valley working with the City of Edina.
"We have a good relationship with the City of Edina," Harris told commissioners. "But it was clear that it would be temporary."
While Golden Valley has been pushing to get dispatch support from Hennepin County for the last year, it became a recent issue when Councilmember Joanie Clausen brought it up at a City Council and manager work session about the Bottineau Transitway.
Clausen told Hennepin County that she would be willing to vote yes on a resolution that would support bringing the light rail through Golden Valley, only if Hennepin County would provide 911 dispatch support.
"We deserve to have it," Clausen said about the county's dispatch services.