Dispatch center opens Thursday



January 25, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Public safety dispatches will start being beamed from 410 N. State St. Thursday. Transfer of the 911 dispatch center in City Hall will start that morning and should be completed by late afternoon.
“We should be on the air by 5 p.m.,” said Angie Murphy, Allen County communications center director. “While the transfer is being made we will have temporary service out of the Sheriff’s Department.”
The dispatch center will have a new business number, 620-365-1437.
For people living outside the 365 prefix area, calls to local law enforcement after hours and on weekends will ring directly to the communications center without a long distance charge.
No change will occur to calls to Iola police department, 365-4960, where calls can be received 24/7.
Calls to the sheriff’s department, 365-1400, Humboldt Police Department, 473-2341, and Moran Police Department, 237-4724, will be answered during regular business hours. After hours, those calls are routed to the dispatch center.
Murphy said nine dispatchers are on board to staff the dispatch center. She also is a certified dispatcher.
Access to the dispatch center will be limited. The outside front door to the dispatch center will be unlocked during business hours, the inside one won’t.
“There is an intercom between the doors as well as a surveillance camera,” Murphy said. “We will want to know specifically what visitors want before they will be admitted.”

AS WORK to outfit and ready the communications center draws to a close, Murphy said cost apparently would be about $350,000, with the lion’s share being paid by the state through Governor’s Enhanced 911 grants.
“We already have a $143,000 grant and I’ve applied for another $169,000, which I am confident will be funded,” Murphy said.
The county paid Heartland Rural Electric $185,000 for the building and adjacent parking area.
In December the county and Heartland completed a deal for a large garage/maintenance building and an additional five acres, directly west of the communications center. The county paid $200,000 and swapped land along U.S. 54 in Gas that originally had been targeted for an ambulance station.
County ambulances stationed in Iola will be housed in the more recently acquired structure, with ownership transfer scheduled for April 1. Ambulances housed now in a warehouse at the east edge of Iola should be in the new building by early summer.

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