September 20, 2023 – Germantown, WI – Germantown Police Chief Mike Snow penned a note to taxpayers in order to be clear about some proposed changes ahead with police operations at the Germantown Police Department, especially those included in the proposed 2024 annual budget.
According to Chief Snow: The budget for 2024 has been a challenging process, to be sure. Department heads were made aware certain cuts would be necessary to present residents with a balanced budget in November. Our finance department was faced with difficult decisions and has made several proposals to come up with a balanced budget.
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One of those difficult proposals is to move our dispatch services to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office using a “phased in” approach. The first step would be to merge operating systems to allow both agencies access to the other’s Records Management System (RMS).
“I simply want to prepare our residents for this potential transition. This will not result in improved services. In certain circumstances consolidation can improve services, but in this case, there will be a reduction in services to the community.”
This process had already begun, as it has been viewed as a necessary step to ensuring the Washington County Sheriff’s Office would be able to dispatch for us in the event of an emergency. The second step would be to have the Washington County Sheriff’s Office assume dispatch responsibilities for our 3rd shift, sometime around January 1, 2024.
The final step would be to turn over all dispatching responsibilities to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office by the middle of 2024.
Our Communication Officers (COs) do far more than answering calls and dispatching public safety personnel. As such, we would need to add four clerical positions to the department to cover the additional duties performed by our COs, that will not be performed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. The estimated savings will be about $300,000 per year.
We have an outstanding working relationship with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and I have every confidence they will make every effort to take calls and dispatch emergency personnel as expeditiously as possible.
They will not take over the other functions provided by our COs. I simply want to prepare our residents for this potential transition. This will not result in improved services. In certain circumstances consolidation can improve services, but in this case, there will be a reduction in services to the community.
Our dispatchers are a vital part of our department and the services offered to the community. I want to make sure people are prepared for that and understand that their absence will be noticeable in several ways.
My intent is not to present a “doom and gloom” prediction of future operations. The Germantown Police Department will continue to work to serve the citizens of the community.
If that means turning over services to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, we will work collaboratively to ensure public safety remains a priority for Germantown residents. I simply want people to be aware of the potential change.
On October 26, 2023, there will be a Germantown Village Board Committee of the Whole meeting to consider the 2024 Public Safety Budget at 6:30 PM in Village Hall.
The Germantown Village Administrator will be presenting information on the overall Village budget for 2024 starting at 5:30 on October 26. The Village Administrator and the police chief will be available to answer questions at that time.