By Samantha Bartholomew
The Board of Trustees voted on an agreement that would create a partnership with the Riverside Community College District and the City of Riverside for dispatch services during their regular meeting March 19.
The hunt for a new dispatch services agency began in May 2018 when RCCD was notified that its original agency, CalState San Bernardino, would be increasing their costs for the 2018-2019 fiscal year by 300 percent.
According to Michael Simmons, director of risk management, the district made several attempts to negotiate with CSUSB but were unable to reach an agreement. Several of CSUSB’s clients, including Chaffey College, have been affected by the sudden and drastic price jump.
Several agencies were considered and approached by the district to provide dispatch services. According to Colleen Walker, RCCD interim chief of police, it was later determined that the services and price offered by the Riverside Police Department was the best fit for the job.
Simmons, Walker and Aaron Brown, vice chancellor of business and financial services, originally presented the new agreement to the board during a committee meeting March 5.
“This agreement will not only provide RCCD with enhanced dispatch services. It will also include a new connection with the Public Safety Enterprise Communication System (PSEC),” Simmons said.
PSEC is an encrypted radio system managed by Riverside County that allows police officers to communicate directly with each other rather than through a public police scanner system.
This new partnership results in a cost savings of $100,000 per year for the district. RCCD will sustain a one-time equipment cost of $175,000 to join the RPD and PSEC dispatch services.
The proposed first-year cost of $302,865 is based on the estimated number of RPD hours and other resources that will be provided to RCCD. In addition, RCCD will also agree to provide assistance in dispatch personnel recruitment and testing locations for the dispatch hiring effort.
Both agencies will annually evaluate the workload and radio traffic to determine estimated costs for future fiscal years, but any increases will be limited to 3 percent.
The three present trustees, Mary Figueroa, Bill Hedrick and Jose Alcala, voted unanimously to push the agreement forward. Absent trustees, Virginia Blumenthal and Tracey Vackar, had voiced their support for the agreement during its original presentation.
“It seems like a win-win for us,” Figueroa said. “I believe that this will increase the safety level for our students.”
The agreement is set to go into effect July 1.