Public Policy Forum Research


Search Publications

Get Connected: An analysis of public safety 911 call taking, dispatch, and command center services in Milwaukee County

Our new report analyzes emergency communications and dispatching in Milwaukee County and opportunities for enhanced coordination with the County’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM). We find there are some immediate steps that should be considered to improve data integration among all municipal dispatch centers and OEM, and that consolidation of one or more municipal dispatch operations in a new OEM facility ultimately may make sense.

Research highlights:

  • A technological solution could allow for sharing of Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) data from individual dispatch centers throughout the county with all other dispatch centers, improving situational awareness and the provision of mutual aid.
  • The County and its municipalities should consider developing a county-wide Emergency Medical Dispatch capability to allow 911 callers to receive dispatcher-assisted medical instructions prior to the arrival of medical personnel.
  • Our case study of a hypothetical scenario in which the City of Wauwatosa would contract with OEM for dispatch services reveals potential savings of $150,000 annually for the City as well as potential operational improvements.


Media Coverage

"New study shows consolidating 911 call centers in Milwaukee County may improve efficiency"
Fox 6 Milwaukee

"​Report: Dispatch consolidation may save communities money"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel