Erlanger Votes to Join Kenton County Dispatch
Erlanger City council voted unanimously Tuesday night to merge the city's dispatch system with Kenton County's emergency dispatch system, a move that will leave the county, at long last, with just one dispatch center.
City Administrator Matt Kremer gave a short report on the dispatch situation.
"Over the past four months my staff and I have researched the dispatch options to include merging with Kenton County dispatch," Kremer began. "After considering the new digital radio system expenses and receiving notice from the City of Elsmere to cancel dispatch services, it is no longer financially feasible for us to continue to operate a dispatch center for just Erlanger. We do not make this recommendation lightly and have looked at this from every angle."
He said there is a memorandum of understanding, which contains certain restrictions for the merger.
The merger won't happen any later than January 1, 2019. The county will hire all the operators that currently work at Erlanger dispatch so that no one will lose their job. They will also be hired at the rate they were paid prior to the merger, and they will not lose their years of service.
Another stipulation is that the Erlanger Police chief will be a permanent member on the Emergency Communications Board. Covington has a permanent position also.
The current dispatch manager will be assigned as assistant to the director of Kenton County dispatch.
The cost of dispatch will be the same as all other cities using the Kenton County 911 fee structure.
Councilman Tom Cahill asked about the channels, and questioned how many other cities would be on the same channel as Erlanger. Kremer said that it was his understanding that there will be no more than five cities on a channel. There are nineteen cities in Kenton County.
Councilwoman Patty Suedkamp was very emotional over the decision.
"I ran with the squad in the '80's," she said. "The county did nothing right in the '80's. The one thing I know, this can never be about money. I know Matt (kremer) did everything he could to make this stay here. You have my blessing. A lot of people are involved. Don't do them wrong!"
Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann and County Administrator Joe Shriver came to the council meeting and stayed until the decision was made, some two and a half hours later. At the fiscal court meeting weeks ago, Kenton County Dispatch executive director Tommy Thompson said that it made so much sense for Erlanger to merge with Kenton County.
"We know how difficult this decision was for the city of Erlanger," said Shriver. "We are happy they made this decision. We think having one consolidated dispatch system for the entire county is the safest option for the people of Kenton County."