There is an article in the News of Cumberland County today about something that slipped past our watchful eyes at MWatch.
An attempt by Cumberland County to merge some of its law enforcement dispatch services has quietly fallen flat.
Led by former Cumberland County Freeholder Louis Magazzu, the initiative moved county sheriff’s officers who answer dispatch calls for warrant checks from the sheriff’s office here to the county 9-1-1 call center in Deerfield. The move occurred last summer.
The plan eventually was to replace those officers with civilians, freeing up the officers for street duty and other functions, while also putting the county on a path toward consolidated 9-1-1 communications, officials said last week.
The incompetent sheriff Bob Austino has a spurious explanation for the failure of this simple consolidation of services.
At the end of December, however, Austino pulled the plug on the initiative.“Unfortunately, (Magazzu) left and the economy bottomed out, and it didn’t pan out as far as getting civilians to take over for us,” the sheriff said.
The poor economy has prevented civilians from applying for jobs? Or it was Lou Magazzu’s fault?
The fact of the matter is, the dispatch department is in deplorable condition right now, and morale is low due to poor oversight. Freeholder Bill Whelan appointed a political crony with a spotty past. As a result, the county is now a target of four Federal EEOC investigations and will be doling out thousands of dollars to politically connected law firms for defense.
Can consolidation of dispatch services work? It can work ONLY if you have proper management and oversight of the 911 Center. That includes hiring somebody that has experience scheduling, and not hiring somebody because they are a friend of a friend and have no business running a dispatch center. Until the OEM/911 Dispatch Center personnel problems are rectified, the county should not even be considering consolidation. People should be hired strictly on their qualifications. Clearly, under the Magazzu/Whelan regime this did not happen.