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North Tonawanda community rallies to bring back dispatch

Drive around North Tonawanda lately and you're bound to see a "Bring Back Dispatch" sign on the front lawn of almost every home you pass and here's why.

Drive around North Tonawanda lately and you’re bound to see a “Bring Back Dispatch” sign on the front lawn of almost every home you pass and here’s why.

Members of the North Tonawanda Police Benevolent Association (PBA) are not happy with sharing dispatch services with Niagara County and want to bring North Tonawanda dispatch back to the city. They say sharing a dispatch causes many unnecessary issues when seconds matter most.

Erik Herbert, a North Tonawanda Police Union representative, shared with Sweet Buffalo the main reasons why sharing a dispatch just doesn’t work.

  1. The response times for citizens are slower because it takes too long for the officers to get the 911 information from the dispatcher.
  2. The “channel” we use to talk on is shared with everyone in Niagara County. This means we often get busy signals when we try and use out radios or need help.
  3. The system is very complicated and hard to use. It should just be push to talk, but instead there are many steps to use the radio in stressful situations.
  4. Minutes matter in emergencies. We want to have our own dispatch and be responsible for our citizens who we serve and protect.

Herbert recently received an award for saving a infant’s life, but he says it was a close call. When he tried to radio in while holding the unresponsive infant in his arms, he received no response. This is why it’s so important for Herbert and fellow police union representatives to continue to fight for NT’s dispatch. As the sign reads, “For NT’s children, families, and neighbors.”

If you would like to help, sign the online petition at, email the mayor at, or come to the next North Tonawanda Common Council meeting 6:30 p.m. June 6 and let your opinion be heard.

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