Cost-Benefit Anaylsis of 911 Call Center Consolidation
UniversityUniversity of Wisconsin - Madison
Case TypeProject Stories
DisciplineApplied Economics, Enviormental Studies, Popultion Health Sciences, Public Affairs
RegionEPA Region 5, USA
University Department CodePublic Affairs
Sustainable Development Goals16 Peace Justice and Strong Institutions
As the link between residents and first responders, the 9-1-1 call centers in Green County, the City of Monroe, and the City of Brodhead serve a vital public safety function: the dispatchers
in these centers serve as the first line of communication for emergencies, and work closely with
law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) to ensure callers’ safety 24 hours
per day.1 The three call centers have varying capacities, staffing structures, and levels of service,
but they share a history and culture of cooperation.
The population of Green County, including the City of Monroe and City of Brodhead, is
marginally growing with an increasing number of elderly individuals living within the
community.2 See Appendix 2 for details. This trend suggests that call volume in the county and
cities could increase in coming years. Consequently, maintaining capacity to support growing
call volume is a potential challenge for the call centers. One option to increase capacity while
controlling costs is to consolidate the call centers.3
Our clients’ primary motivation for this project is to determine whether 9-1-1 dispatch
consolidation is fiscally feasible. The clients are also interested in understanding how to best
improve the efficiency of operating 9-1-1 services. However, each of the call centers have their
reservations regarding the potential for consolidation and its implementation. Green County is
concerned that full consolidation would result in increased costs for the Sheriff’s Office after
absorbing the smaller city call centers. In addition, there are concerns in Monroe and Brodhead
about integrating into a larger operation and still successfully serving their smaller, tight-knit
“Green County Sheriff’s Office 2017 Annual Report” (Monroe, 2018).
2 United States Census Bureau, “Census.Gov,” accessed December 2, 2018, https://www.census.gov/.
3 Andrew Sancton, “Reducing Costs by Consolidating Municipalities: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario,”
Canadian Public Administration 39, no. 3 (1996): 267–89.
communities. Despite these concerns, the clients are interested in a cost-benefit analysis of policy
alternatives that assess the fiscal and social net benefits of consolidation.
This report seeks to produce a cost-benefit analysis of a possible 9-1-1 dispatch
consolidation between Green County, Monroe, and Brodhead. We provide the rationale for the
study, four consolidation alternatives, and the anticipated costs and benefits of consolidation. We
review the methodology for forecasting the net social benefits of the policy alternatives and
explain the technique utilized for the sensitivity analysis. To conclude, we provide a
recommendation to our clients based on the analysis.
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