Meriden public safety committee hears 2016 response stats

Meriden public safety committee hears 2016 response stats


MERIDEN — A spike in fire department responses, an increase in stabbings and shootings, and the emergency dispatch center nearing full staffing levels were among reports presented to the City Council’s public safety committee on Wednesday as part of its quarterly and annual review of emergency response statistics in the city.

Emergency Communications Director Doree Price said the dispatch center processed 115,681 calls in 2016. There are currently 14 full-time dispatchers, and four more in training, two of those were hired last week.

“If all of them complete the training and are successful we will be fully staffed at the center, which would be wonderful,” Price told the committee.

Committee Chairman Larue Graham praised Price on the staffing improvements.

“I want to commend you on staffing. It’s been at least two years that we haven’t been anywhere near full staff,” Graham said.

Training for the new hires could be completed by the summer. Full staffing would allow the two supervisors to be more available to oversee the staff and incidents in the center during shifts, rather than fielding calls. Construction on a new office space for the supervisors is also underway, which would allow them more privacy.

Price said upgrades to the department’s computer system are pending as the department looks to secure funding for replacements. While computers are normally replaced on a rotating basis, Price said, “for some reason they were never replaced and now they are all due at once.”

“The computers for the radios that run the consoles — there’s six of them and they have not been replaced — they are going on six or seven years old, so they are at end of life and need to be replaced,” Price said. “If those computers go down the radios, the consoles go down, so it’s critical.”

Hunter’s Ambulance Operations Director Bill McGovern said the department had seen a 106 percent increase in stabbings and shootings from the previous year, jumping from 16 incidents in 2015 to 33 in 2016. A graph shown to the council revealed many of those incidents were concentrated downtown. Hunter’s officials administered naloxone 140 times in 2016.

Fire Chief Ken Morgan said the 6.35 percent increase in fire department incidents and service calls is unexplained as of yet.

“We’re concerned this might be a trend and we’ll have to monitor this over the next year,” Morgan said.

South Meriden Volunteer Fire Chief Keith Gordon said his department is short about a dozen firefighters.

“That means the rest of us are working real hard,” Gordon said.

Since 2013, 42 firefighters have left the department. About a third of them went on to become career firefighters.

Deputy Police Chief Timothy Topulos shared the police department’s crime statistics for the year and fourth quarter, which revealed a decrease in crime overall, but an increase of 38 motor vehicle thefts. There was also one additional homicide over the prior year. Assault, robbery and burglary all decreased for the year.
Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ

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