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March 7, 2022
Dear Bridgeton Residents,
Safety is one of the highest priorities the city of Bridgeton has for its residents and for its employees. It is with that in mind, the administration and city council are moving forward with a possible change in the police department.
Later this year, if the City Council concurs, the police dispatching services will be transferred to St. Louis County to handle for the city of Bridgeton. That is all that is proposed. Bridgeton still will operate its own Police Department.
The dispatching issue has been studied for the past two years, primarily for safety reasons. Currently, the city’s budget has funding for eight full-time dispatchers. We only have five fulltime dispatchers and fill some shifts with part-time employees. Despite recruitment efforts, the city has not been able to find suitable candidates to fill these full-time jobs. Additionally, the city has for many years operated with only one dispatcher through the night hours. Ideally, dispatching for a city the size of Bridgeton should have two dispatchers always working.
More than 40 other county municipalities already contract with the St. Louis County for dispatching services including, Chesterfield, Ellisville, Eureka and Overland to name a few. None of these departments or their residents reported any significant problems transitioning or working with the county. The fire protection districts serving Bridgeton residents all use a central dispatching system similar to what St. Louis County uses. There are only a handful of municipalities left that handle their own dispatching.
We have been assured by the County that the transition from Bridgeton to them handling dispatching will be seamless. And, in checking with other cities that have gone through this, they concur. Residents should not worry about any delays. In fact, with the new computer technology the County is installing, officers should be able to communicate, access records quicker and process warrants much faster than the current system allows. This in turn, will enable officers to spend more time on the streets and less on paperwork.
As we move through with this possible transitioning, I would hope you will keep an open mind. Bridgeton will continue to maintain its own police department providing service to the residents of the city; and this potential change will be done with the safety of residents and officers in mind.
Mayor Terry Briggs