Hennepin County Denies GV’s 911 Dispatch Request

At its May 11 meeting, the Hennepin County Board denied Golden Valley’s request to have the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office provide the City with 911 dispatching services. The City anticipated the move would save about $300,000 per year starting in 2011.

City officials now plan to begin negotiations with dispatch service providers in nearby cities or neighboring counties.

This is a cost-saving issue, explains City Manager Tom Burt. “In these economic times, we have to look at all avenues to reduce expenditures.”

Golden Valley has contracted 911 dispatch services through the City of St Louis Park since 1994. Costs for 2010 are $305,000 and have been as high as $337,000. The City began considering a change to Hennepin County’s dispatch center in 2008, mostly for budgetary reasons.

Hennepin County currently provides dispatching services for 23 law enforcement agencies and 19 fire departments at no cost. Like all county residents, Golden Valley residents already pay for dispatch services through their property taxes.

Golden Valley formally asked to be added to Hennepin County’s dispatch center Oct 30, 2009. A Dec 10, 2009 letter from Hennepin County Sheriff Richard Stanek to Golden Valley Police Chief Stacy Altonen said: “We are currently staffed adequately and would be able to provide these services to your city without having to add personnel.” Golden Valley then gave notice to St Louis Park Dec 31, 2009.

For budget purposes, the City has asked St Louis Park to provide a contract price for future dispatch services. The City will obtain the same information from other area 911 dispatch service providers.

Regardless of the outcome, Altonen says a dispatch change will have no effect on Golden Valley residents and business. “If you call 911 in Golden Valley, the response time will be the same.”

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