Kent Co., GR 911 centers not merging for now

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids and Kent County leaders have decided against the idea of merging their 911 emergency dispatch centers.

Kent County Central Dispatch handles all calls for the county except those within Grand Rapids city limits. Leaders have long talked about the possibility of moving Grand Rapids dispatch to the county. But after crunching the numbers, leaders with both agencies said the move didn't make financial sense.

"We're not going to make a snap decision or an emotional decision. We're going to analyze it thoroughly and we're going to make sure that we're making the right decision," Grand Rapids Interim City Manager Eric DeLong told 24 Hour News 8 Monday. "Leaders at the city and county decided not to proceed with the dispatch consolidation."

DeLong said the cost of merging the centers would be around $3.6 million. Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young said a large portion of the cost would come from physically expanding the dispatch center to accommodate more than 40 new Grand Rapids employees.

DeLong said the move would save taxpayers an estimated $387,000 each year, so it would take about a decade for the municipalities to break even. Leaders decided the savings weren't enough.



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