MIDDLETOWN (AP) — Connecticut State Police began field testing a new dispatch system Wednesday that restores some functions to local barracks, partially undoing the consolidation efforts that began two years ago.
New state police Commissioner Dora B. Schriro said the plan to direct all routine, administrative calls to the troop where they can be handled locally comes after a preliminary review of the consolidation overseen by her predecessor.
Testing began at Troop A in Southbury and Troop D in Danielson and the system is expected to be rolled out to all 11 troops by this fall.
All 911 calls for service, emergencies triggering the dispatching of state police troopers, will continue to be directed to the consolidated dispatch locations. About 60 percent of the 1.5 million calls the state police received last year were non-emergency, Schriro said.
Acknowledging the state police dispatch consolidation “has had its share of challenges,” Schriro said “optimal results can still be realized” by improving the handling of 911 and other urgent calls while redirecting non-urgent calls to the local troops for individualized attention.
The state police union had criticized the consolidations, which pulled all dispatchers out of some barracks and moved them to others. Union members claimed the move increased response times to calls and left some 911 calls unanswered.
Also, the union said people who needed help showed up at locked barracks. Last month, Schriro announced that round-the-clock coverage would be restored at all the barracks, providing 24-hour, seven-day-a-week access for the public.
While dispatches in the eastern and western parts of Connecticut have been consolidated, plans are on hold for the central region as Schriro continues her review, which began Jan. 31.