County Taking Over Off-Hours Dispatch for Town

Tombstone Marshall cars sit parked outside the Marshall’s Office in Tombstone, Ariz.
Tombstone Marshall cars sit parked outside the Marshall’s Office in Tombstone, Ariz.

As of Feb. 1, any phone calls to the Marshal’s office outside of normal business hours will be sent to dispatchers at the Cochise County Sheriff’s office in Bisbee.

The city hopes the move will save money needed to hire another deputy, or possibly two.

“It’s expensive to have someone sit in here 24/7,” said Miller Mitchell, Tombstone’s newly installed marshal.

Mitchell said the county sheriff’s dispatchers now answer Tombstone emergency calls outside of normal business hours and on weekends. However, the move won’t disrupt response times or service to the city.

“This community knows everyone here,” Mitchell said. “They can call over here and know them on a first-name basis. It’s a little smaller town flavor and that’s what we have to maintain. It’s a luxury they have come to expect and it’s something they won’t be happy about losing.”

Before the change, dispatch responded to all non-life-threatening calls. Tombstone Mayor Stephen Schmidt said the county had handled the city’s after-hours dispatch calls in the past.

If the dispatch change is successful, the city will save enough money to hire a full-time deputy and possibly a part-time deputy to fill out Mitchell’s department. The city now has four deputies, but one is on sick leave. Schmidt said the department should have five deputies to patrol the city.

The county’s dispatch center in Bisbee will be moved to Sierra Vista, courtesy of Sheriff Mark Dannels having been awarded over $1 million in federal grant money for sheriff’s office assistance.

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