Trenton, Riverview end consolidated police dispatch, jail operations

Photo by Sue Suchyta from video
Riverview City Councilman Tom Coffey (third from left) discusses the implications of the cancellation of the shared dispatch and jail agreement with Trenton at a March 6 study session while City Administrator Douglas Drysdale (left), Mayor Andrew Swift, and Council Members Bill Towle, Elmer Trombley and Lynn Blanchette listen.

By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers

The consolidated police dispatch and jail operation agreement between Trenton and Riverview will end June 30, Trenton Director of Police and Fire James Nardone said Thursday.

Nardone said one meeting was held in an effort to renegotiate a more equitable agreement, but Riverview officials declined to further discuss an option that was beneficial to both communities.

Riverview Police and Fire Chief Clifford Rosebohm said Thursday that the decision to discontinue dispatch was a mutual decision between the two cities.

Riverview Mayor Andrew Swift said in an email that Riverview was very pleased with the performance of the dispatch service provided by Trenton.

“We thank them for hosting us the past few years,” Swift said. “The decision to bring it back to Riverview was purely financial, but will benefit the residents as it will put someone in the building 24/7.”

The Trenton City Council voted unanimous Feb. 21 to cancel its current police dispatch and jail agreement with Riverview June 30, with the possibility of the agreement being renegotiated.

Rosebohm confirmed the ongoing discussions at the March 20 city council study session.

Riverview City Manager Douglas Drysdale said in a March 27 email to city council members that he, Rosebohm and Trenton City Administrator Jim Wagner, Director of Police and Fire James Nardone and Police Chief Steven Voss had met a week earlier, and the police chiefs would meet again to discuss operations, and would present the results to their respective city administrators.

The motion by Trenton Councilman Robert Howey, seconded by Councilman Steven Rzeppa, unanimously terminated the five-year Intergovernmental Emergency Dispatch and Jail Services Agreement entered into Feb. 24, 2012, by both cities within 120 days of the resolution. The terms of the original agreement expired Feb. 24, 2017.

Under the terms of the agreement, Trenton and Riverview equally administered a 911 dispatch and communication services center and jail facilities in the Trenton Police Department.

The jail service agreement included providing emergency medical services for Riverview prisoners. A city official, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the need for a Trenton police officer to stay with Riverview prisoners taken to the hospital had become a source of contention for Trenton police officials.

The original cost sharing agreement was split evenly between the cities, with the agreement stating that in successive years the operating budget would be based on the proportionate share of police and fire calls for each community.

Riverview Councilman Elmer Trombley said at a March 6 council study session that he had talked to Wagner about the issue at a Downriver Community Conference meeting.

“He said they are going to try and work it out,” Trombley said. “It ain’t over.”

Drysdale said at the March 6 study session that he did not know the reasons the Trenton City Council voted to end the agreement.

“We are going to sit down with them and get all the reasons, and then determine whether or not it is worth it for us,” Drysdale said. “If it is some unreasonable thing, money, manpower, different cars, I don’t know.”

“If they get rid of it, we’ll take it over ourselves again,” Trombley said.

Swift said that was an option, but they were still working on the issue.

Drysdale said March 6 he and Rosebohm had discussed Riverview’s options, but they had not yet put anything down on paper.

Riverview Councilman Tom Coffey said March 6 the issue was more complicated than just taking the services back in-house again.

“We sold and chose to go with Trenton rather than go more to Wyandotte,” he said. “We did a study. We sold that because it was giving us more manpower on the road. So if you reverse and go back, then the selling point is reversed.”

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at sue.suchyta@yahoo.com.)