On Tuesday, June 26 the Hennepin County Board approved the transfer of dispatch services from the City of Hopkins to Hennepin County. The transition was made on August 21, 2012. Read below for more information and answers to frequently asked questions.
On August 21, 2012 The Hopkins Police Department along with the Hopkins Fire Department made the transition to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office for dispatch services.
For the last several months, the police and fire departments have been working behind the scenes diligently to make this transition as smooth as possible. Additionally, a transition team comprised of leaders within the police department was created to plan out this change and ensure that our service remained outstanding. Our goal is to ensure there will be no difference in the quality of service provided to the community that we serve. This transition team is now working with Hennepin County Dispatch to finalize the change-over.
Citizens or businesses who call 911 will hear “911 what is your emergency?” The dispatcher on the phone will take your information and immediately start a response by police, fire or ambulance. There will be no difference in the amount of time or delay before squads will be dispatched. As always please try to provide as much information as possible for the dispatcher.
If the dispatcher answers your 911 call with “911 is this an emergency?” that indicates that the dispatcher may be on another emergency call and are trying to prioritize emergencies. In this case, the caller should immediately tell the dispatcher whether or not their call is an emergency. The same type of emergencies that our current dispatch center prioritizes will be the same standard with the Hennepin County Sherriff’s Dispatch. If you are unsure as to the category of the call, always call 911. The Hennepin County Sherriff’s Dispatchers are highly trained, have substantial resources, and can quickly assist the concerns of the public.
When an immediate police response is not needed, citizens should call 952-938-8885. Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 4:30 PM, these calls will ring directly into the police department. A member of our police department staff will direct the call as needed. Outside of these hours the phone call will be directed into the Hennepin County Sherriff’s Dispatch Center, phone number 763-525-6210 for assistance.
The police department lobby will be open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. A citizen is welcome to come into the police department lobby and use the available telephone for immediate assistance.
As in the past, there will be round-the-clock police and fire assistance available. The department will be staffed with officers at all times; day, night, weekends, and holidays. We are committed to the citizens of Hopkins and we will continue to provide an exceptional level of service.
Hopkins is one of only 11 cities in the State of Minnesota that has its own dispatch center. It is the smallest city in the metro area that does dispatch.
Hopkins is currently facing some significant equipment costs. If Hopkins continues to have its own dispatch center, the City will need to spend $50,000 this year on new equipment which will also require the City to spend approximately $25,000 per year on a service lease. The main dispatch system is scheduled to be replaced in 2018 at a cost of approximately $575,000.
By transferring dispatch services to Hennepin County, Hopkins can avoid these equipment costs plus save at least $300,000 in annual operating costs equaling over $3.8 million dollars in savings during the next ten years.
Currently Hopkins police and fire have their own radio “main” channel. This makes it difficult for surrounding agencies and other partners in the law enforcement community to monitor our emergencies. By having Hennepin County Dispatch, we would be on the same radio “main” with several other surrounding communities to help better serve our citizens in a much more timely matter.
The citizens in other cities who have gone through this change really have not known much difference. The main change for citizens will be the use of 911 more frequently. Instead of a citizen calling the non-emergency number for a police or fire response, they will now be advised to utilize the 911 number even in non-emergency events. The non-emergency number will still be provided, but not recommended for calling if the citizen would like police response, especially after hours.
The biggest change will be for the police and fire staff. There will be new procedures for these two departments. The staff of course, will get comfortable with these changes as time passes