An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spokane City Council Rejects Joining Emergency Dispatch System

Spokane County

The Spokane city council voted unanimously Monday night to prevent the city from joining a regional emergency communications dispatch system.

The program will combine police and fire dispatchers from the county and its fire districts, along with Crime Check, in a system overseen by a regional board of directors. It’s due to begin operating on July 1.

Spokane council members complained they’ve asked for months for financial and other information about the combined system. But, says councilwoman Candace Mumm, system coordinators delayed responding or ignored their requests.

“I would never go into business with someone like that. I don’t trust it," Mumm said. "Obviously we didn’t have enough dialogue about how we were going to be able to deliver the same level of service or better and how we were going to treat our employees the same or better. It came very late in the end and it still changed just a few weeks ago, about how much it was actually going to cost per call. I said show me the money. Let’s talk about it. It just didn’t come together.”

Mumm and others said they’re open to continuing to talk about the city’s participation.

Mayor David Condon endorses the system, saying it will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars and provide faster emergency response.

The city recently issued pink slips to 10 of its dispatchers, saying it wouldn’t need as many if it goes its own way. Some of those people have been hired for the new system.

Council commissioner Al French issued a statement Tuesday, criticizing the council’s decision. He suggested the vote was meant to protect the interest of the unions that represent city employees who work in the emergency response system.