In August 2015, Cobourg Police decided to shut down their dispatch service. They were not only dispatching Cobourg Police but also Cobourg Fire and a number of other departments both in Cobourg and in nearby municipalities (more at links below).  On January 1st, 2016, their Dispatch work will be taken over by successful bidder Owen Sound Police (who already dispatch Port Hope police).  Fire departments will be handled by the new County wide dispatch service which will be contracted out to Peterborough Fire.  There is no word on who will dispatch Lakefront Utilities and Cobourg Public Works who were previously dispatched by Cobourg police.  But in addition to dispatching, Cobourg Police also answered all local 911 calls – this service is called a 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).

The PSAP person routes calls to the appropriate agency – police or otherwise. All the shuffling around of who does what plus the layoffs left the question as to who will do the PSAP job?  It’s not the same as the Dispatching job although it often goes together.  It turns out that Owen Sound Police thought they would be getting the job so their price included that function.  Therefore they would do the job at no extra charge.  But a company called Northern 911 (based in Sudbury) is already providing PSAP services to all Northumberland Municipalities with the exception of Port Hope and Cobourg.  The question then is, should Cobourg join them?  In a memo to Council at the C.O.W. meeting on December 14, CAO Stephen Peacock estimated the cost of using Northern 911 at $9000/year.  Is it worth $9000 per year to consolidate with other Northumberland Municipalities for a 911 phone answering and routing service?  Since Stephen did not think it was he recommends that Cobourg appoint Owen Sound Police to not only provide Cobourg police Dispatching but also PSAP services. Council will likely endorse this recommendation.

So if you call 911 from Cobourg starting January 1, 2016, your call will be answered in Owen Sound.  They will then dispatch Police if required and if another service is warranted, will forward the call as appropriate.  I guess it’s better than someone in India taking the call.

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