Council Members Question Benefits of County Police Dispatch Study

Governing body not convinced system will benefit Bridgewater.

There are concerns about moving forward with the actual program, but the council is in agreement that a study into the county’s regional dispatch communications network is a good idea.

The council unanimously approved a resolution March 21 to participate in a study that will determine whether it might be practical to join up with the county’s regional dispatch communications network.

According to the resolution, the currently has its own dispatch system, but the county offers an option to join up with the regional one that utilizes a central 911 service for rescue squads, fire department and/or the police department.

But not all council members are in support of the program itself.

“At this moment, I don’t support joining the program,” Councilman Allen Kurdyla said at the March 17 meeting. “I have some concerns quite frankly with the items that are not addressed, like the issues of redundancy and maintaining the level of service.”

Kurdyla said if he had to vote on joining the dispatch program at this moment, he would vote against it, but that does not mean he is against a study.

“I’d be foolish to say we shouldn’t study it,” he said. “But there are concerns I feel need to be addressed.”

According to the resolution, with the study, the township and county will be reviewing Bridgewater’s current communication configurations; looking into prices for portable radios that are compatible with the county’s system; receiving data on pricing for computer aided dispatch records management; reviewing Bridgewater call data, reviewing Bridgewater’s dispatcher responsibilities; and checking into other aspects of the program.

The council will also be required to put together a committee of two elected officials, two police department personnel and an administrator, all of whom will be looking through the data to determine whether the program is appropriate for the township.

Kurdyla and council president Howard Norgalis will serve on that committee.

Township administrator Robert Bogart said he—along with Bridgewater Township Mayor Patricia Flannery, Bridgewater Township Police Chief Richard Borden and captains of the department—met with Somerset County Freeholder Director Jack Ciattarelli and others to discuss the program.

“There was some concern from our administration, but they asked if we would consider adopting the resolution for the study,” Bogart said. “We said we would bring it to the council.”

Councilman Matthew Moench said at the March 21 meeting that he supports the study, but is also concerned about joining the county dispatch program.

“I support going forward with the study because I think due diligence requires it,” he said. “I have strong feelings about whether we would want to go forward with this.”

“I support the study to see the feasibility of doing this, but I am in no way endorsing the concept,” he added.


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