Pacifica is outsourcing its police dispatch to save money, but although residents who call 911 will soon reach South San Francisco dispatchers, police say they won’t wait any longer for assistance.
“The same police officers will be responding, so there should be no delay in response time,” said Pacifica Police Capt. Dave Bertini.
The only way callers will encounter delays is if they call the department’s after-hours business line instead of 911. In that case, they will have to wait for their call to be routed to the dispatch center in South San Francisco, Bertini said.
And the department’s office will be closed after business hours, he said, so some residents might have to drive to the South San Francisco department for after-hours police business.
The three-year agreement between the cities, which was approved by South San Francisco City ouncil members July 13, could start in the next few months.
Bertini said his department needed to reduce its operating budget by 7 percent. The only way to do that without cutting officers was to outsource the entire police dispatch center and eliminating six full-time positions, he said. That leaves just five civilian employees for the entire department, he noted.
South San Francisco Chief of Police Michael Massoni asked councilmembers in his city to approve the hiring of four additional personnel to address the extra work. Pacifica will reimburse South San Francisco for the associated expenses and set aside some extra funds for contingencies, a staff report indicated.
“We can provide this service to them, so they can save a little,” said Massoni. Representatives of the two cities met Wednesday to discuss a possible timeline, he said. “Ideally the target date will be Jan. 1 or sooner.”
South San Francisco police have already begun working on the transition.
“It’s a process,” South San Francisco Capt. Jeff Azzopardi said. “It requires hiring, training, and matching up equipment, but we would like to switch over in the next few months. There is potential for countywide dispatch services, but right now it’s just the beginning of starting to do this for Pacifica.”