PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Personnel issues in Allegheny County mean changes for the Mon Valley Police Department.
Eleven police departments will share a 911 dispatch channel next week.
“Any call that is delayed, a matter of seconds, can be the difference between life and death,” McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.
The mayor opposes the merger, which is scheduled for May 5. He said the consolidation is a matter of safety for his 41 full-time officers and the community.
“It’s not uncommon for us to get 100 or more calls in a 24-hour period,” Cherepko said.
“It’s very irresponsible. I find it very mind-boggling that anyone could really think this is a viable option without putting our officers and all first responders at risk,” he added.
Elizabeth Borough Police Chief William Sombo agrees.
“We have enough traffic on our channel now,” he said. “We don’t need additional departments.”
An Allegheny County spokesperson said the consolidations have been ongoing for some time and have been successful. Matt Brown, chief of the Allegheny County Department of Emergency Services, said the consolidation turns two dispatch offices into one, helping with 911 shortages.
He added that the extra channel will be ready in certain situations.
“It keeps the channel efficient. It keeps our operations efficient,” Brown said, “mainly because of our staffing needs right now. We’re dealing with staffing issues like everywhere else.”
“I don’t know what it’s going to take,” Cherepko said. “Hopefully it doesn’t take anyone getting seriously injured or dying before we realize it was the wrong decision.”
Glassport’s police chief told KDKA-TV he was also against the plan.