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Dispatchers Bid Farewell to Covington, Each Other

Covington dispatchers gathered at police headquarters Tuesday afternoon for a goodbye luncheon as the department prepares to turn over control of 911 emergency dispatch operations to Kenton County. Employees at the Covington center will clock in at 6:00PM Saturday and then clock out for the last time twelve hours later at 6:00AM on Sunday. The next shift will begin at the Kenton County Police Department and Covington's dispatch center will be no more.
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Current and past employees of Covington's center gathered for the lunch, part of which was paid for by the local AFSCME union that is losing sixteen of its members in the change, part of Covington and Kenton County's goal to regionalize dispatch and a move that is expected to save the city approximately $5 million through 2017. Twelve Covington dispatchers have accepted positions at Kenton County, though those positions will not be represented by any union. Two others have accepted different positions with the Covington PD while two more will move on. Several Covington Police officers joined the dispatchers in saying goodbye Tuesday.
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"This is an opportunity for them to get together and share stories," said Covington Police Chief Spike Jones. "Some of them have worked with each other for their entire careers. It's somber in some respects but it's good to see people get together and share memories of their careers."
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Most of the equipment has already been moved from Covington to Kenton County as officials aim to make the transition as seamless as possible. Kenton County was the only county in Kentucky to operate three separate dispatch centers and efforts continue to persuade Erlanger and the cities it serves to join in the consolidated center.
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As for the space once occupied by the dispatch center, Chief Jones hopes to utilize it as office space for patrol officers who have been housed in the basement for decades.
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PHOTO: Covington dispatchers pose for photographs Tuesday afternoon/RCN