HUDSON — While the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing down the process, the police department is continuing with an $805,000 project to implement a new virtual dispatch system with Bath Township.

"We have been working to try and keep the project on schedule but due to COVID-19, it has been challenging," said Hudson Police Chief Perry Tabak. "That being said, we are doing pretty good and moving forward."

Tabak added he, "originally estimated project completion in July, [but] we may end up pushing this back until August."

The chief recently told city council that most of the equipment has been delivered and furniture should be shipped to the city sometime this month.

"Most of the stuff’s in, we’re waiting for things to die down with the COVID stuff to go ahead and get some of the scheduled people to come in to the facility to start actually installing stuff," said Tabak to council.

He said he’s continued to communicate with Bath Township leaders and project vendors by phone and through web meetings.

Once the operation is up and running, Hudson and Bath Township dispatchers will be able to dispatch emergency calls to both communities.

Tabak said this is the first major upgrade to the police department’s dispatch center since it was built.

City Council last summer reviewed three different proposals from Tabak that attempted to address how the municipality would handle the added expenses of complying with new regulations for its dispatch center. The center’s equipment was 17 years old and needed to be updated. Council agreed with Tabak’s recommendation to embark on setting up a virtual dispatch center with Bath Township.

At the time, Tabak said partnering with Bath would be beneficial because:

1. The communities would save money due to sharing equipment;

2. Both communities would come into compliance with new staffing regulations without the cost of hiring more full-time staff;

3. The dispatchers in Hudson would be retained and continue serving the community;

4. It sets up partnerships with other agencies and positions Hudson for the future as technology and regulations change; and

5. Immediate costs were budgeted for in the 2019 and 2020 budgets.

Tabak said Hudson has five full-time and three part-time dispatchers, while Bath has six full-time and two part-time dispatchers.

In addition to being a cost-savings for both communities, Tabak said the system will provide both communities with more capabilities and "better PSAP resources (CAD, 911, Radio) through smart sharing of resources." The new set-up will allow services to continue "in case of emergency or critical incidents in one of the communities," Tabak said.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.