Editor's note: On Feb. 20, the Record ran a story about the county's push to consolidate 911 dispatch services under one roof at the Public Safety Operation Center in Mahwah -- something Fair Lawn's council discussed doing last year. Compelled by the recent Record article, the president of Fair Lawn's International Association of Firefighters -- which represents the dispatchers -- and the president of Fair Lawn's Policemen's Benevolent Association have co-authored a response:
In response to the recent article "County to bring 911 service under one roof", The Record, February 20, 2012, I felt compelled to address some reasons why consolidating dispatch services would not be beneficial in a borough the size of Fair Lawn, with a population of over 31,000 people.
’s Communications Division properly and promptly answered over 11,400 9-1-1 calls as well as over 150,000 phone calls for service in 2011.
Fair Lawn uses unique addressing in which a majority of properties have "dashed" addresses and people who call for help reference the section of town that they are in. Having someone who is not familiar with the borough handle emergency calls could have tragic consequences and potentially delay emergency responses. Having a local dispatcher familiar with the intricacies of the town will save valuable time in an emergency and sustain the safety of all personnel at an emergency incident. A local dispatcher knows the streets, people, and problems and is a familiar voice to someone in their time of need.
Located next to Paterson, this past year the Borough has seen an increase in bank robberies, burglaries, assaults and car thefts.
For an emergency call originating in Fair Lawn to be transferred over 11 miles to Mahwah and then back to Fair Lawn could be a catastrophic waste of time, and seconds count when it comes to saving lives.
Dispatcher, Fair Lawn Police Department
President, IAFF Local 4840
David Boone, President, Fair Lawn PBA #67