BRENTWOOD, Mo. - It's perhaps the most important call a person can make. So, when someone dials 911, they expect a dispatcher's complete attention.
Some Brentwood residents fear they won't get it if their city moves to consolidate its operations. One week from Monday, city leaders will be talking about the issue at Brentwood City Hall. While some say consolidation could save taxpayer money, others say it will only put public safety at risk.
"Seconds can matter. Seconds can be life and death," said lifetime Brentwood resident Brandon Jones.
Jones also used to be an EMT, but it's his role as dad that's motivating his concern over a proposal to consolidate 911 operations.
"It's scary when you have to wait for an ambulance to turn up. And luckily right now with the system we have in place, it's quick," said Jones.
It was quick when his son needed an ambulance, and when his garage caught fire. But he fears that will change if Brentwood takes up an offer to join The East Central Dispatch Center, or ECDC.
The ECDC includes Clayton, Richmond Heights, Webster Groves, Shrewsbury, Maplewood, and Olivette. On Olivette's website, the center calls itself a cost-sharing service, striving to maintain the highest level of technology, and "a unique, innovative, and leading example of functional cooperation."
If Brentwood moves forward with the proposal, there's no word on what would happen to the city's seven dispatchers, or how much money it would save. But Jones doubts the savings would be worth it.
"I would say that if it's not a significant amount of money, public safety is more important," said Jones.
The Brentwood mayor declined an on-camera interview with NewsChannel 5, but says this is a tough decision they're taking very seriously.