Four new cities to join Dearborn consolidated dispatch center

Dearborn City Council members voted unanimously to allow Inkster, Garden City and Wayne to join their city’s consolidated dispatch center.

Westland was previously approved. Pending the other cities approving the contract, all four new cities will join July 1. Dearborn already handles dispatch services for Melvindale.

Westland previously served as a consolidation service for Inkster, Wayne and Garden City.

Officers meet with Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad prior to a City Council meeting.

Council members have held several meetings over the last few months, including public study sessions, and have gone to other dispatch centers for research before agreeing to add in the new communities.

The request to expand the dispatch center was brought by the Dearborn Police and Fire Departments.

Police Chief Ronald Haddad said you need partners to be efficient.

“We have a state-of-the-art facility,” he said. “I’m very confident that the people of this city have in part enjoyed the enhanced service that has been provided. In order to be efficient, we need partners to come onboard.”

City Council President Susan Dabaja said that decisions need to be made in the best interest of the residents of Dearborn.

“I just want to make sure that this a success and we don’t fail,” she said.

“In my opinion, I think we should do some sort of phasing-in system, but I’m not the expert. We want to make sure we are making the best possible decision. And I don’t know what I don’t know. I rely heavily on being able to pick up on information provided. We all want this to be a success.”

Councilman Mike Sareini said he believes this is a win-win.

“I think it’s better for us to control our destiny and lead the charge,” he said. “Understanding what’s going on in our neighborhoods is important.”

Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad addresses the City Council in regards to adding more cities to the consolidation beginning July 1.

Fire Chief Joseph Murray said he has been very supportive since the beginning.

“The Fire Department actually helped write for the original grant that was proposed in 2013 with Melvindale,” he said. “What’s nice about joining with these other cities, is that we will have additional people in the dispatch center, which means if we have a large event in one city, more dispatchers can be on that project.”

When someone calls 911 for an emergency currently, they get through to one dispatcher who takes all their information and then alerts the emergency vehicles to respond. With a consolidated dispatch center, it could offer assistance to more than just the person calling in the emergency.

Murray said it’s important to know what’s coming and to be able to communicate better.

“Currently, if I go to Inkster to help on a fire, they’d be speaking with their dispatch while I’m speaking to mine,” he said. “With a consolidated dispatch center, we are all speaking to the same feed and it becomes more organized.”

Haddad said he doesn’t see a negative side to the dispatch center.

“This is without question one of the greatest opportunities the city of Dearborn has ever had,” he said. “This will without a doubt enhance the safety and security of our officers. I have even spoken to several people and the residents have an overwhelming amount of support and trust in our Police Department to make the right decisions and do what is best for our community.”

Murray said the July 1 implementation is a goal, but it may need to be pushed back.

“One of the things I definitely want the public to know is that obviously we set a goal of July 1st,” he said. “But Chief Haddad and myself and all of the other chiefs are not going to make this transition unless we are 100 percent confident that we are all set and ready to go. Chief Haddad and myself take our public safety obligations very seriously. So if we are not confident it’s ready to go, it’s not going to go.”

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said a consolidated center is safer and can help more than just one person at a time.

“One thing that will be most beneficial is that if there is an emergency in a neighboring community, we will know about it right away and be able to determine if our residents are also at risk,” he said. “For example, as we are already consolidated with Melvindale, when a young man shot someone in Melvindale and had plans of finishing it at the hospital here, our dispatch team was aware of it and was able to get police and fire there first and help prevent more damage being done and more lives at risk.”

Murray said that the determining factor on whether a city joins the consolidation service is based on if it will benefit Dearborn.

“The No. 1 thing we look at is how it will affect Dearborn,” he said. “I think this will only have positive effects on the city of Dearborn.”

O’Reilly said one thing that is concerning is that it may be confusing for some because they think that by consolidating the dispatch center, that means all emergency departments will be consolidated.

“I think one thing we want to be sure of is that the residents understand that this does not mean that our police and fire will be responsible for handling emergencies in these other communities,” he said. “It simply is that there is one hub for all emergency calls to be directed to for multiple cities. We would never allow it to be a situation where a Dearborn resident is waiting for an extended amount of time for emergency services because they’re coming from Westland or Wayne. That would never happen.”

The dispatch center is located at the Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave.

Murray said he’s excited for the transition.

“I think we are all excited,” he said. “It will only have positive effects on the residents.”