The joint dispatch collaboration between Kandiyohi and Big Stone counties is an innovative concept that has potential throughout Minnesota.
Their respective county boards completed a formal agreement Tuesday under which Kandiyohi County will begin providing dispatch services for Big Stone County.
This cooperative dispatch effort has been a partnership between the two counties and the state of Minnesota. The state Department of Public Safety and the two counties have worked for two years installing equipment, upgrading radio bandwidths and ironing out the technology challenges.
Credit goes to Kandiyohi County Sheriff Dan Hartogg and Big Stone County Sheriff John Haukos working together to get this cooperative effort off the ground.
The cooperative effort is important and beneficial to both counties.
Big Stone County has a shrinking population, which creates challenges for maintaining a stand-alone operation. Combining dispatch with Kandiyohi County, helps provide expertise as well as cost-sharing efficiencies.
Kandiyohi County will be paid $110,000 per year to handle Big Stone County's 911 calls. This funding will help Kandiyohi County to eventually expand its dispatcher staff and maintain its support level for both counties.
There is a growing effort at the state and county levels to seek out new and innovative ideas to handle county services and protection. Kandiyohi and Big Stone counties are now at the forefront of this cooperative and efficiency effort.
With the new age of Internet and communication technology, distance is no longer a restriction. Counties as well as cities can now follow the example of Kandiyohi and Big Stone counties in seeking out and developing new efforts to build efficiencies and save budget dollars.
Congratulations to Kandiyohi and Big Stone counties on this unique and innovative effort.