Derby Looks To Cut Local Emergency Service Number

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Derby residents have two ways to call for emergency help. One is 911. The other, is a local number. By cutting one service, city officials say they can save taxpayers money without cutting important services.

Every day, hundreds of calls are made to Sedgwick County Emergency Communications via 911.

Some of those calls are made from Derby.

Those calls are not the only emergency calls being placed within the city. Many residents also use Derby's direct emergency line.

City Manager, Kathy Sexton, said the two numbers are not necessary.

"You don't need to dial 7 digits when you're nervous and panicked about an emergency. You need to dial 911," said Sexton.

That is why the city is looking to eliminate the Derby service, asking Sedgwick County to take care of all of Derby's emergency calls.

"They provide the vast majority of 911 service in the area. Derby duplicates that to some extent, and we're looking at how we can save taxpayer dollars," said Sexton.

Sexton said more than $244,000 could be saved to Derby's annual budget with the change.

That move could add more than $200,000 dollars to Sedgwick County's annual budget.

"We would be looking at eliminating four staff positions in Derby, but the county would add four staff positions there," said Sexton.

Marissa Wood may be one of those staff members.

As an emergency communications officer, Wood said she and her co-workers do much more than answer phones.

"We can run warrant checks. We can run criminal history checks throughout the United States. We enter things into the National Crime Computer, missing people, lost people, stolen tags, stolen cars, anything along those lines," said Wood. "We do a lot of little things that 911 dispatchers don't have time to do."

According to the city, it is a necessary move. They said residents would more-than-likely never notice.

"The service will continue to be the same high quality that Derby and Sedgwick County provides to our communities now. It will simply be more efficiently done," said Sexton.

The City of Derby asked the county Wednesday about transferring full service to them. The County Commission would have to okay the request before the change could be made.

If passed, the changes would go into effect January 1, 2012.

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