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Police unit to move at cost saving

The Town of Hamburg has approved a $300,000 plan to move its emergency dispatch facilities across the Town Hall parking lot into the Police Headquarters.

That's considerably less than the $3 million plan that was proposed in 2005.

The original plan involved building additions that aren't in this plan, said Councilwoman Joan Kesner.

"That was an overall capital improvement plan, which included dispatch," said Kesner.

"This is a win-win for everybody. We're able to do a state-of-the-art dispatch center and keep it on site by scaling down a number of features that were requested before."

The plan is more popular with Supervisor Steven Walters, who was elected the fall after the initial project was proposed.

"I could not see my way to supporting a $3 million capital project in the town," Walters said.

Walters said the impetus to getting the new plan done was the country's offer to take over dispatching for the town as part of a yet-to-be-completed public safety campus in Buffalo.

"I think everybody came to the realization we had to be more realistic about what we could do," Walters said.

The town will sell bonds to pay for the project.

It involves moving dispatch from Town Hall to Police Headquarters, where it will take over what had been a training area.

The plan also includes other changes, including moving the holding cells for prisoners to the police building. The new dispatch area will be on the northern side of the police building.

The dispatch department employs 14 full-timers and two part-timers, with at least two on duty at all times. Most shifts have three dispatchers.

Assistant Chief Carmen Kesner said the change will be helpful.

"It's bringing us back together," he said. "They will be in direct contact with our officers, and I think it will be a better working relationship. Working conditions have been very difficult for them. Being separated sort of isolated them."

The dispatch center was set up in the 1970s and had seen few renovations since.

In addition to dispatching town police calls, the dispatch center handles calls for fire and emergency squads and for the villages of Hamburg and Blasdell and the towns of Boston, Colden and Eden.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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