Township Officials Consider Hosting Westwood's Dispatching
Washington Township and Westwood officials have been considering sharing emergency dispatching in the borough's police department. Now township officials are looking at the opposite plan.
Washington Township officials said Monday that they would examine the possibility of hosting emergency dispatching for Westwood.
The two towns have been considering a proposal from Westwood to host the township's dispatching, but that plan would involve the Washington Township Police Department being closed at night. Both towns would also help pay for some new equipment for Westwood's dispatch center, much of which the township already has, according to Mayor Janet Sobkowicz.
Township councilmen agreed during their meeting Monday that Westwood's plan was good, but that they should investigate the possibility of hosting dispatching for the borough.
"Maybe we can give them a better number," Councilman Glenn Beckmeyer said.
Westwood's proposal included a five-year agreement with the township paying an average of $131,000 per year for operating costs. Expenses for upgrading equipment would also be shared, with each town paying about $7,800 per year for 10 years, or sooner if the township decides to leave the agreement.
Sobkowicz estimated moving the service to Westwood would cost about $276,000 for the first year because of the shared operating and capital costs, as well as equipment needed for their police department to allow it to be closed at night.
It would have cost the township about $350,000 for the first year if they had gone with Bergen County's dispatch service, Sobkowicz said.
Hosting the two-town dispatch in Washington Township still faces some hurdles. Councilman Steve Cascio said the township's police department may not have enough space to operate for both towns and council Vice President Joseph D'Urso noted that Westwood already has civilian dispatchers, while they still rely heavily on more expensive police officers.
Officials said that they expect the real savings of sharing emergency dispatching may not come for several years, once fewer police officers are needed on each shift and some retire.
"I see this as a long-term plan," council President Richard Hrbek said.