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Minnesota State Patrol to Combine Dispatch Centers

Posted at: 10/12/2012 6:58 PM
Updated at: 10/12/2012 7:04 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 News) -- With new technology comes change. For the Minnesota State Patrol that means combining their nine dispatch centers down to just two. By the middle of next year, the only dispatch centers in the state will be Roseville and Rochester.

"We can actually dispatch anywhere in the state," said Chris Jacobson.

Jacobson is the Center Manager at the District Headquarters for the State Patrol in Rochester. New 800 Megahertz technology now allows dispatch to reach officers across the state, meaning only two dispatch centers are needed.

"Before with our nine centers there might be times when there was one dispatcher sitting in there and you had several callers for an incident and depending on how quick the operator can get to those calls, they were waiting and waiting, and waiting," said Jacobson.

By combining centers, the State Patrol hopes to eliminate that problem.

"We'll have more dispatchers on in case of snowstorms or any emergency event," said Lt. Christina Krueger.

The Patrol's nine dispatch centers took calls for 11 districts. Mankato's call center is now closed, with all calls being handled by Rochester.

By the beginning of 2013, the dispatch center in Marshall will also be closed with those calls also going to Rochester. The rest of the state will be dispatched out of Roseville.

"Just because someone's answering a phone 100 miles away, you'll still get the same service if they were located in your city," said Krueger.

The State Patrol says once the Marshall calls are redirected to Rochester, a minimum of three dispatchers will be on duty at all times.

"It'll be more efficient, instead of having to be put on hold, we'll have more dispatchers in there so we'll be able to take that 911 phone call," said Krueger.

Hoping the new technology, will help provide a better service to the public.

As for the dispatchers in danger of losing their jobs, the State Patrol says all have been offered a chance to transfer.