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Dispatch center closing Dec. 27

| Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2002

As of Dec. 27, Monessen residents should make emergency calls directly to 911.

The city's dispatch center will cease operations 7 a.m. that day.

Council voted to lay off the city's four dispatchers to save money in the face of a 2003 budget shortfall of more than $400,000.

Westmoreland County 911 will begin handling the city's police and fire calls.

Mayor John DeLuca and Police Chief Mark Gibson said residents with security or fire alarm systems should contact their providers to tell them to route calls to Westmoreland 911.

Gibson said security system breaches traditionally have been called into city police via automated systems.

"It's just a machine (that says) you have an alarm," Gibson said.

He said many security systems are set to automatically dial the city police number when alarms are tripped.

Those systems cannot dial the numbers 9-1-1, so the security operators need to record 10-digit alternate numbers, DeLuca said.

Gibson said police will establish a nonemergency line at (724) 684-4620. It will be available 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

"Any time after that, you just leave a message," DeLuca said.

A telephone box will be located outside the police building in case the department is locked or no officers are available.

DeLuca said residents should avoid the habit of dialing the city's police and fire departments.

"If they do call the city, the number will kick over to 911," Gibson said.

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