- Associated Press - Monday, May 18, 2015

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut’s public safety commissioner announced on Monday that she intends to reverse all the state police dispatching consolidations put in place by her predecessor, who was criticized by some troopers and state lawmakers who said the consolidations were increasing police response time.

Dora Schriro, commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said she completed a review of the consolidations and plans to reinstate dispatching and call-taking services at all state police barracks. Under the consolidation, all dispatchers had been moved out of some barracks and some of them were relocated to other barracks.

“Our state police troops are critical to the communities they serve and this plan will yield optimal operational efficiencies at every troop,” Schriro said in a statement.

Schriro announced last year that she was returning 24/7 coverage to all state police barracks that had been closing after normal business hours due to the consolidation that began in 2012 under former Commissioner Reuben Bradford and former state police Commander Daniel Stebbins.

In 2012, state police consolidated the dispatch centers of barracks in Litchfield, Southbury and Canaan in northwestern Connecticut into one center in Litchfield. A similar consolidation was later made for barracks in Danielson, Colchester, Montville and Tolland, placing all dispatching for eastern Connecticut in Troop C in Tolland.

Sgt. Andrew Matthews, the state police union president, said the consolidations were responsible for some 911 calls going unanswered and police response times increasing, often because troopers would have to drive out of their troop areas to deliver prisoners to other barracks because some barracks were closed nights and weekends under the consolidations.

“It’s a great day for us because it’s going to improve the response times,” Matthews said about the consolidations being reversed. “It’s going to improve the safety of the public and our troopers.”

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had supported Bradford and the consolidations, saying they would save money and free up more troopers for patrols.

“As with any complex public policy, you want to be flexible and make necessary changes to make it work best for Connecticut residents as well as law enforcement officials who have to implement it,” the governor’s office said in a statement Monday.

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