Dodge, Steele dispatch partnership unlikely - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Dodge, Steele dispatch partnership unlikely


MANTORVILLE, Minn. (KTTC) -- For years, officials in Dodge County have considered combining their dispatch center with another county in Southeastern Minnesota.

Now it seems that's not likely to happen.

This has been a major process, and over the years officials have done studies and hired consultants to look into all the possibilities, but now it seems likely Dodge County dispatch will stay in Mantorville.

Tucked away in the Dodge County Sheriffs office is a room that's a lifeline for every resident in the county, but for a room that coordinates emergency services across communities like Mantorville, Dodge Center and West Concord, the Dodge County dispatch Center seems a little under whelming.

"It's a little on the small side and we need more room, and we need to modernize equipment in here," said Dodge County Sheriff Jim Jensen.

Which is why for around two and a half years, Dodge County officials looked at partnering with another dispatch center, including the Rice and Steel County dispatch.

Sheriff Jensen looked at all the possibilities, but says last week, the Dodge County Board effectively closed the possibility of a partnership.

"They told me to just look at staying here," he said.

Sheriff Jensen agrees staying in Mantorville does have it's advantages.

"You keep your dispatchers local," he said.

But partnering with another center would also have its upsides.

"Right now every dispatch center has to buy equipment, and if you consolidated you would use less equipment throughout the area," Sheriff Jensen said.

Right now Dodge County is looking at a list of upgrades -- getting new radios, upgrading the 911 system, upgrading their logging for radio and telephone, upgrading their space and getting a room for their servers.

Rice and Steele counties combined their dispatch systems years ago, and officials there say the cost of all that equipment was a major motivator.

"If each of the counties I currently serve had to buy their own, that's double the cost," said Rice and Steele Counties 911 Center Administrator Tim Boyer. "As it sits now those two counties together can buy one piece of equipment and share the cost among them."

Officials at the Rice and Steele County 911 Center say their partnership has paid off, and hope even though the door seems to be closed now, Dodge County Officials will someday join their partnership.

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