New home: 911 dispatch center transfers to sheriff’s office

Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Dispatchers are hard at work in the new facility at the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. Dispatchers started using the new equipment in the new location on Monday, Sept. 24.
Photo by Tavi Ellis/Carroll County News

Carroll County’s 911 and central dispatch services have officially moved into the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office (CSSO).

Maj. George Frye, the sheriff’s chief deputy, said dispatchers started using the new equipment in the new location on Monday, Sept. 24. He said Benton County Sheriff’s Office donated the consoles. The county purchased a used communications tower. The tower was 220 feet tall, Frye said, but CCSO was unable to use the final 20-foot section because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had approved a tower height of 212 feet. He said the tower is 200 feet tall with a 12-foot antenna on the top, putting the tower at the exact authorized height.

“The county was able to get a good deal on a used tower that saved us substantial funds,” Frye said. “We purchased a used tower and had it trucked in and erected here on site.”

He said the dispatch center will be compatible with the current and future NG911 standards, which includes the seamless flow of digital information such as voice, photos, videos and text messages from the public, through the 911 network and to emergency responders.

The sheriff’s office has been preparing the new 911 dispatch center since October 2016. At the time, CCSO Lt. Daniel Klatt had said the total estimated cost of the project was around $470,000, and the quorum court had secured about $30,000 in grants to help with expenses.

The quorum court voted in June 2018 to approve an appropriation ordinance transferring $100,000 into a special capital fund set aside for the dispatch project. District 3 Justice of the Peace Lamont Richie told his fellow JPs that the money would be used for the installation of a radio tower at the sheriff’s office and for other work related to the transition.

Frye said dispatchers can now work in a new and updated facility in a secure location.

“The primary benefit of the move is that it puts them in a secure location behind locked steel doors,” he said. “This world being what it is, it’s important we have our communication center in a place that is secure.”

Frye continued, “In order for someone to get to our communication center, they’d have to go through several locked doors. We were particular about how we set this facility up so that no one can get in, but [the dispatchers] can always get out, even if the power goes out.”

He said he has heard positive feedback from the dispatchers on the new facility.

“Our staff has said they prefer the new setup and the new equipment,” Frye said, “and that the software is easier to use.”

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