NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The future of North Branford’s 911 dispatch center is uncertain. There is a proposal to merge that dispatch center with Branford’s. Some people are concerned about what that would mean for residents and for first responders. Some residents are worried it will mean longer wait times for emergency calls.
North Branford’s dispatch center is in the town’s police department. Merging it with Branford’s dispatch center would mean the North Branford Police Department would be a dark police station.
Having a dark police station definitely is not safe. You need someone here in case of emergency,” said Terri Nuzzo, president of AFSCME Council 4 Local 1303-155, the union that represents the workers.
Four civilians – who are not police officers – work in the dispatch center full-time along with one part-time employee. Many residents are hoping they’ll keep their jobs.
“I don’t think that would be a great idea to have the dispatch shut down at all in town,” said Jeannine Kelley, a North Branford resident. “I think it’s important to have.”
Many officials are now trying to come to the aid of the dispatch center. On Thursday night, a special town council meeting was held to discuss it. Though some residents came to listen, the council only heard from officials. They heard from the state, the fire department, and police.
“A dark station would mean that we would be spending more time going back and forth to Branford than we will in North Branford,” said Matthew Canelli, North Branford’s police chief.
The town keeps records of the emergency calls that come in. Nearly 9,500 came in last year alone. Many officials say dispatchers need to keep taking those calls in North Branford.
“We have a fiscal responsibility but we also have a moral responsibility to our residents, the service we give,” said David Palumbo of the North Branford Police Commission.
The meeting was informational, and the town council won’t be making any decisions just yet.