Millage Would Fund Kalamazoo 9-1-1 Service

Jul 24, 2020

A worker monitors emergency calls at Kalamazoo County's central dispatch building on Stadium Drive in July 2020.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Funding for emergency dispatch is on the August 4 ballot in Kalamazoo County. Voters will decide on a 0.65-mill tax proposal that would fund the countywide dispatch center that opened in 2018.

Public safety agencies in the county used to have their own 911 centers. They had to phone each other when a call crossed their borders, which cost them time. Now all the dispatchers answer calls in a center on Stadium Drive.

“When people come in here and they actually go downstairs and they see the operation, they’re wowed,” Kalamazoo County Consolidated Dispatch Authority Executive Director Jeff Troyer told WMUK.

Troyer said cardiac survival rates jumped by 20 percent after consolidation. The agency looked for the cause.

“There was one common denominator to it. That was the dispatch authority’s first full year in operation,” Troyer said.

“It’s saving seconds out of that response. Not just from public safety’s side of it but also from the residents’ side,” he added.

Voters rejected a 2017 phone charge proposal to fund the 9-1-1 center. Troyer says a fall 2019 poll showed more support for the millage. It would fund operations for 10 years and pay for a new radio system.