County joins regional dispatch study

Published 8:49 am Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Regional dispatch may still be in the cards for Mower County, but the partnership won’t be in Steele County.

While the county board passed on joining forces with Steele and Rice counties’ joint dispatch center in Owatonna, the board agreed to participate in another study. The board voted to be a part of the Interstate 35 Corridor PSAP Regional Study.

The study will look into the benefits and downsides of multiple counties forming on regional center for dispatch services.

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Counties that participate aren’t locked into joining a potential regional board, and the funding for the study comes from the state.

The board passed on joining the Owatonna venture because officials with the joint dispatch center said joining won’t essentially save money.

Likewise, the I-35 Corridor study may not save money, but Commissioner Tony Bennett noted the counties involved could pool dollars for more high tech technology.

County Coordinator Craig Oscarson said the study would likely take more than a year. Any potential move to a regional dispatch center is two to three years out, he added.

Oscarson said the board will time to research any potential issues and to properly inform the public about any effects of a potential change.

“It becomes a really big concern for the public and for law enforcement,” he said.