A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Golden Budget May Undercut Sheriff's 9-1-1 Empire

The Monmouth County Sheriff's Department plans to postpone the hiring of ten 9-1-1 dispatchers and a systems analyst for its Communications Center in order to trim their portion of the county budget, based on statements provided by a spokesman for Sheriff Shaun Golden on 8 March and published the next day in APP.

Consider the growing obligations of the Center and ask yourself why the sheriff was once seeking 11 new staffers and now suddenly can afford to forgo them. The Center thought they needed more staff to handle emergency calls, and now they don't? Looks like they still do. The Center handles 9-1-1 calls for 44 out of 53 (83%) of our county's municipalities, as well as dispatches for 9 police departments, 32 fire departments, and 24 first aid squads, according to an Oct 2010 news release.  Plus the sheriff recently took control of the county's Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which he himself says relies heavily on 9-1-1 reports to coordinate regional disasters, according to a Feb 2011 news release.

The sheriff says that revenue from shared service agreements with local municipalities, such as centralized 9-1-1 services,  increased this past year and he plans to seek even more deals this year to raise still more revenue, according to APP. This may be good for the county budget, but it will lead to an ever increasing workload on the Center's static number of personnel.  And what of municipalities that are putting their trust in the county 9-1-1 system? Places like Freehold and Fair Haven have cut municipal costs by paying the county to answer the phone when an emergency arises. Will the Center effectively handle their calls without adequate staffing?

These are only the latest negative changes to New Jersey's quality of life to trickle down to us from Governor Christie's cuts in state aid.


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