According to a Friday news release from the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, the Alaska Department of Public Safety wants to move all emergency services dispatcher positions from Ketchikan to Anchorage by July 2021, but the borough is looking for a way to keep those jobs local.

Relocating the seven positions would be part of a DPS project to lay a foundation for a statewide Enhanced 911 emergency system — a system with more sophisticated location services that lets dispatchers know where wireless callers are calling from.

The initiative would consolidate dispatch services from Ketchikan, Wasilla and Soldotna into one state-owned facility in Anchorage, with the goal of lowering costs and increasing efficiency.

The release states that, while it’s possible upgraded technology could allow Ketchikan dispatchers to provide the services remotely, DPS said it would cost more and be less efficient.

“I am currently seeking justification for why the Ketchikan dispatch center could not remotely network with an Anchorage dispatch center to accomplish the goal of DPS while continuing to provide local services to Ketchikan,” borough Mayor Rodney Dial wrote in the release. “I am concerned that this change could result in diminished services to the citizens and Troopers in Ketchikan.”

The borough says it will work with Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, and Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Ketchikan, to look at alternatives that would keep the positions in the city while satisfying the state’s requirements and not reducing emergency services.

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