In the wake of Winder fire chief Ray Mattison’s continuing public criticism of how Barrow County’s E-911 operators have handled the city’s fire calls since 1992, the notion of having the county also dispatch Winder’s police calls appears less likely.
Mattison laid out to the Winder City Council on Monday some serious concerns he has about the proposed city-county merger of emergency communications services.
Police Chief Dennis Dorsey said he doesn’t want the efficiency of the city’s police department to reduced.
“I am 100 percent happy with the way my dispatch works now…,” Dorsey said. “I don’t want to take a step backward to fix the county’s problem.”
He said before he would agree to the merger, county officials would have to prove to him that the 911 center could maintain the city dispatchers’ current level of service or improve it.
Winder Mayor Chip Thompson said if the city and county were to keep separate dispatch systems, it would provide a backup system for county communications in case of a large-scale emergency.
Thompson said after hearing the comments of the city’s fire and police chiefs, he thinks city dispatchers would indeed be more accountable to the city.
“We could do it better ourselves than have someone do it for us that does not care about us as much as we do,” Thompson said. “We care a lot about Winder, and that is our main focus.”
For the full story, see the June 8 issue of the Barrow Journal.