2018 Top News Story #10: Dispatch move finally complete

Friday, December 28, 2018

Carroll County News

Carroll County’s 911 and central dispatch services officially began operating from the Carroll County Law Enforcement Complex on Hailey Road in late September, completing a transition that took nearly two years and cost significantly more than originally projected.

The dispatch move was The election was voted the No. 10 local news story of the year by Carroll County Newspapers’ editorial staff.

The 911 and central dispatch services had operated out of the Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville, but the county began preparing to move those functions in October 2016. Originally, the project was expected to cost $470,000, but it ran into multiple problems that increased the cost and delayed the transition. During a Carroll County Quorum Court meeting in September 2017, then-District 3 Justice of the Peace Lamont Richie described the project as “an absolute mess.”

Richie blamed the delays on a lack of oversight for the project and recommended that the county hire Sam Ward to coordinate the effort. Ultimately, Richie credited Ward with salvaging the project.

“Sam has done a great job,” Richie said at the quorum court’s June 2018 meeting. At that meeting, JPs approved an appropriation of $100,000 for the installation of a radio tower at the law enforcement complex. The tower was installed in July, and Richie announced at the September meeting that the move was virtually complete, at a final cost of approximately $515,000.

District 1 JP Jack Deaton pointed out that the dispatch move was just the first part of the effort to upgrade and improve the county’s communication infrastructure. Deaton said the next step, upgrading towers and other equipment, is likely to be much more expensive.

Maj. George Frye, at the time the chief deputy for the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, explained that the move allowed dispatchers to work in a new and updated facility and most importantly, in a secure location.

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

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