LINCOLN, Neb. -- The first phase of a three phase plan to consolidate the Nebraska State Patrol Communications (dispatch) Centers from six to three is underway.
“The consolidation of our Communications Centers is something we have been researching for the past couple of years,” said Colonel David Sankey, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol. “Technological advancements have made it possible to begin the process of dispatching our calls for service in a more efficient and cost effective manner.”
The Agency will consolidate its Troop B- Norfolk Communications Center in mid-May. Calls for service from Troop B will be dispatched out of Headquarters Troop-Lincoln. Headquarters Troop-Lincoln began dispatching overnight calls for Troop B in January in preparation for the consolidation. Currently, Troop B is being dispatched out of Headquarters Troop more than half of the time.
But not everyone is so sure the consolidation plan is for the best.
"I have concerns that the dispatchers down in Lincoln are just not going to know that general area and layout of northeast Nebraska, you know landmarks that we use," said Stanton County Sheriff, Mike Unger. 'I think the radios themselves work and they're able to communicate but again just with dispatcher not knowing the topography and the layouts of some of these counties and some of the small communities I think that could potentially lead to some dangerous situations for the individual troopers."
Pierce County Sheriff Rick Eberhardt says he understands the change, but says he's witnessed the transition first hand.
"They're learning too," said Eberhardt. "We've had a couple calls; Where's this at? What county's this in? Because it's on a map and it
hard to differentiate it's a 135 miles away, it's just different."
NSP does not dispatch for any law enforcement but their own.
Colonel Sankey said, “While change is often difficult and a period of adjustment is expected, we recognize the hard work and dedication of our Communications Center employees and thank them for their professionalism during the transition.”
The second phase of the Consolidation plan will be implemented by the summer of 2015. A Consolidation Committee will meet to determine the second center to close. Consolidating from six to three Communications Centers is expected to result in a cost savings of $750,000.