Sheriff Day Cautions Lawrence County Council on issues with Lawrence County 911 Dispatch
LAWRENCE COUNTY - JANUARY 25, 2023 - During the Lawrence County Council meeting Tuesday night Sheriff Day; cautioned about the issues surrounding the county's 911 dispatch center.
Sheriff Day thanked all of the 911 dispatchers who work long hours and are dedicated workers who have logged several hours of overtime to keep the 911 Center operating.
Most dispatchers are putting more the 10-20 hours of overtime each week. With the Chief dispatcher Amy Trueblood working several days of overtime to help out.
In 2022, Lawrence County Central Dispatch answered 45,0000 calls with approximately 11,000 were 911 calls.
The Lawrence County 911 Central dispatch works the radio for Lawrence County Sheriff Department, Lawrence County's nine volunteer fire departments, Mitchell City Police Department and IU Lifeline Ambulance Service.
Sheriff Day thanks the 911 dispatchers for their hard work
According to Sheriff Day, it takes 11 full-time 911 dispatchers to run the dispatch center 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Like many dispatch centers across the state, the Lawrence County 911 Central Dispatch is having a hard time keeping employees due to the low pay, and high stress occupation.
There was a total of six current dispatchers, with recent hiring of three more dispatcher's bringing the total full-time dispatchers up to nine. Day said he tried seeking just part-time dispatchers instead of full-time dispatchers that just did not work out.
However, Day announced that the most experienced dispatcher with just about one year of service is getting ready to leave the position for another job that pays more and is 40 hours, a week position. In addition, more dispatchers are looking to find other employment either in law enforcement or other dispatch centers that pay more.
Sheriff Day talks about the many issues involved with the Lawrence County 911 Central Dispatch Center
The list of responsibilities of the 911 dispatchers is a very long list from giving CPR and first aid to callers; instructions to answering several telephone lines and opening/closing doors at the Lawrence County Correctional Facility.
911 dispatchers undergo almost more than 250 hours of training including Emergency Medical Dispatch training.
Day told the Lawrence County Council members that the dispatch center is an issue that is just as critical as the recent ambulance issue. In fact, there are concerns that the dispatch center may even close or lose state certification.
Day says that the county needs to look further into creating a truly a 911 Central Dispatch Center or consider raising the pay rate for the 911 operators.
Currently, there are two 911 centers in the county which include the City of Bedford and Lawrence County Sheriff's Department. The Mitchell City officials chose to move the dispatch responsibilities to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department.
Many emergency personnel believe a one dispatch center will be more efficient than the current two centers currently in operations.
When asked about what the issue is with having one centralized 911 center, Day said the issue pre-dates his administration, but political turf wars were a huge factor in the matter.
Lawernce County Zephyr will continue to monitor the developments on this story.