Police chief requests new dispatcher position
SPRINGDALE — The only new position being considered in Springdale’s budget for next year would go to the city’s emergency dispatch center to fulfill added state requirements, a City Council budget discussion confirmed Monday.
Police Chief Mike Peters made the request with Fire Chief Mike Irwin supporting the request at Monday night’s meeting in city hall. Mayor Doug Sprouse also supported the request.
“These state requirements on dispatch centers are coming because the state wants smaller centers to consolidate,” Peters told the council. “They have added so many reporting requirements and record keeping that our day shift supervisor has to be out of the room, taking care of administration.” The position requested would be a training coordinator and dispatch supervisor who could provide direct supervision of staff while the director takes care of administration, he said.
State legislators were clear in the last legislative session that too many of the smaller jurisdictions around the state have their own dispatch centers without enough training or detailed records, Peters said. The increased requirements, however, affect larger centers also, he said.
The state didn’t offer any extra money after imposing additional requirements, council member Mike Overton noted during the discussion.
Irwin told the council improvement to Springdale’s dispatch center was a major factor in the city’s fire insurance rating improving to a class 1, the highest rating possible. That change was announced last week. The center dispatches the Police and Fire departments, emergency medical service and city animal control.
In all, the new hire would cost the city $60,000 a year, Peters said, but that wouldn’t all go to that one position. He said after the budget meeting a total of six positions would have their job duties changed, requiring some adjustments in pay.
In other matters discussed Monday, Irwin requested $58,750 for 50 sets of bullet proof vests and helmets. This gear would allow firefighters to reach victims in a mass shooting situation that isn’t resolved yet with a lesser degree of risk.
“It’s a sad day when I’m asking you for bullet-proof vests and bullet-proof helmets for our people,” Irwin said. The city’s budget will require council approval at a regular meeting later this year.