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North Tonawanda cops sue over county police dispatching

NORTH TONAWANDA – More than four years after the change was made, the North Tonawanda Police Benevolent Association filed suit in State Supreme Court Thursday, seeking to invalidate an agreement that shifted the city’s police dispatching duties to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

The lawsuit by the police union contends that having their calls dispatched by workers in Lockport has slowed down police communications, especially since the county’s new digital radio system was inaugurated last year, and that the agreement violated state law because it was meant to be permanent rather than pegged to a certain number of years.

The city’s six civilian dispatchers, who were not PBA members, became county employees as of July 1, 2012. The city and county signed a contract under which the city paid a gradually decreasing share of the cost of those workers’ salaries and benefits through the end of this year.

City officials said at the time that they made the move in hopes of saving money in future years.

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