Inyo and Mono counties and the town of Mammoth Lakes have all agreed to contribute up to $25,000 to study the feasibility of establishing a regional dispatch center in Bishop. Bishop’s City Council added its name to that list at last week’s meeting.

While Bishop’s population is the smallest of the participants, the city also has the largest number of calls, as well as a well-regarded dispatch center. The decision was a bit grudging as councilmembers feared a change would negatively impact the quality of Bishop Police Department’s service.

Bishop Police Chief Ted Stec explained the move would reduce personnel costs across the board as well as increase the “depth of service.”

Currently, Bishop’s dispatch is a one-person-at-a-time operation. The change would require additional staffing from the participating entities and a larger site, a point brought up by both Councilmembers Chris Costello and Karen Schwartz.

“We have a level of excellence we don’t want to lose,” Schwartz pointed out. She cited Stec’s “unique knowledge” and his ability to look at the study and make sure Bishop would keep its level of service.

“The biggest hurdle is where to site the center in Bishop,” Stec said. Councilmember Laura Smith added, “the study should answer that question.”

Rob Patterson with Mammoth Lakes PD justified the Bishop location. “The funding is a measure of commitment,” he said. “The other three have the need and the volume is high in Bishop.” Bishop dispatch gets twice as many calls as Mammoth Lakes.

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