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New Westminster police consider E-Comm move

New Westminster is mulling over a proposal to have its police department dispatch done by the regional E-Comm 9-1-1 service instead of handling it in-house.

The department said a decision by Chief Const. David Jones and the police board should be made by the end of the month on a proposal from E-Comm. According to department spokeswoman Sgt. Diana McDaniel, E-Comm makes a proposal to the NWPD every two years.

She said the department is weighing factors such as service to the public, officer safety, sustainability, risk management and staff considerations.

“Money is not a deciding factor,” said McDaniel.

She said one of the advantages to joining E-Comm would be not having to worry about having enough staff on duty. But conversely, it would mean a loss of local knowledge since the New Westminster dispatchers, some of whom have been with the department more than 20 years, know all of the city’s little streets, lanes and barriers intimately. In addition, the dispatch office is right beside the watch commander’s office with only a sliding door, which is always open, between them.

Coun. Chuck Puchmayr, chair of the city’s emergency advisory committee, said council expects the department to continue looking at where there could be savings.

“There’s always a review, and E-Comm has changed some of their policies and there may be some efficiencies there,” said Puchmayr. “The bottom line is, is it more efficient to the taxpayer?”

He pointed out while New Westminster has its historic geographic idiosyncrasies, GPS systems make it possible to overcome those abnormalities.

The New Westminster Fire and Rescue Service recently went to E-Comm. Puchmayr said he has not heard of any negative impacts from that move except for the odd glitch, and it’s likely there would be occasional glitches even if it was done in-house.

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