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Dispatch plan shouldn’t be tough choice

Congratulations to the Natchez-Adams County E911 board for pulling together all of the players in the county’s emergency dispatching game for a discussion.

The challenge is that several of the players seemingly cannot agree on a set of rules to play together.

A concern over how fire calls are handled — specifically some that could have gone to volunteers that instead went to Natchez city fire crews — prompted the meeting.

At the heart of the matter is money related to the joint city-county fire protection agreement. Both sides care about who pays for what and how much value they get for that money.

Under the agreement, city crews respond to all county fires. For that service, the city seeks additional funding. The county thinks it pays too much already. Both sides agreed last year to try and reduce the number of calls the city crews had to make in the county.

Halfway through the yearlong process, the plan is an abysmal failure.

Dispatching was blamed, in part.

The logic being, if a county resident calls 911 and reports a fire, the always on, always ready city crews can often respond and get to the fire before volunteers can, particularly if city crews get the call more quickly than the volunteers.

That prompted the meeting. But the 911 board was smart enough to propose, while all the players were in the room, a plan to simply consolidate the dispatching, offering three plans.

On the surface, we favor the plan that would keep the dispatchers at the Natchez Police Department, where the consoles already exist.

That plan just makes sense. Both Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield and Natchez Police Chief Danny White suggested they were not prepared at the meeting to decide.

How difficult is it to see and decide that such a move makes sense — perhaps not from their personal perspectives, but from just common sense?