Mandan News

Mandan delays dispatch decision

A computer dispatch system offered by Bismarck and Burleigh County to Mandan for emergency services was tabled by Mandan officials on Dec. 3, a day after it won approval from the Burleigh County Commission.

The Mandan City Commission tabled the decision on a 3-2 vote. The majority wanted to study how to best integrate the county systems so law enforcement and emergency officials can share information.

Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek and Commissioner Sandra Tibke voted against the delay, saying they wanted to start using the Bismarck dispatch system for fire and emergency services.

The Burleigh County Commission gave initial approval on Dec. 2 to a five-year agreement allowing use of the dispatch system that would be provided by the Bismarck/Burleigh Combined Communications Center. The agreement needs to be approved by the Morton County Commission, Bismarck City Commission and Mandan City Commission before it could be activated in the Mandan area.

The system is used for dispatching, monitoring and recording of emergency and non-emergency services. It would assist law enforcement, fire, emergency and medical responders.

“We don’t have one in Morton County,” said Mandan Fire Chief Steve Nardello before the s meeting. “Now, that I’m adding staff … we really need it there. It’s not budgeted for in Morton County.”

Nardello said the cost to install the system would be $15,000 for the fire department. Nardello said a new system for the county and city would be $250,000 so it is a big cost savings.

He said the system will save dispatchers time writing information down about the emergency. Some of that information will automatically be recorded. “The computer dispatch allows the information to be sent to our units,” Nardello said. “It will bring it up on our maps automatically.”

He added that emergency responders already have mobile units that can receive the information. Local emergency officials only need to be licensed to use the Computer-Aided Dispatch system information, he said. The CAD system also allows dispatchers to see where fire trucks are located through a GPS system, he said. “It will tell them where the incident is and (if we) sent units there through a vehicle location system,” Nardello said.

By LeAnn Eckroth