Bids for the first part of improvements to be made to the Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center came in approximately $10,000 lower than the estimate.
“When we first came out here, the dispatch center from the old facility came with us,” Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said of the office’s move to the Auglaize County Law Enforcement Center in 1998. “This is part of updates we have been hoping to do for years.”
The lone bid received for this part of the project came in at $45,382 from Thomas Shelby and Company, of St. Marys. An additional estimate of $510 could be added for desk features for the dispatchers. The total project estimate was $55,000.
Auglaize County Administrator Joe Lenhart said they are required to hold that bid for 90 days.
He said by the end of November they are expecting to have final specifications on the other part of the project — to take out the floor — as well.
Solomon said they are trying to update the area of the center which houses dispatchers at one time to save in costs. One of the most important aspects of the updates is to improve the security for the dispatchers and privacy for the public calling in to make reports.
Much needed updates to technology are to be made at the same time, Solomon said.
As part of an initial phase of the project, the floor of the dispatch center is being raised, computers updated and the room reconfigured to readjust where dispatchers sit.
“They are the first contact the public has with our office,” Solomon said about how dispatchers who now site facing away from the front door and not always able to see if someone is waiting to speak to them.
By adjusting how the dispatchers sit, private information displayed on screens as they take calls also will not be able to be seen by members of the public walking into the Law Enforcement Center.
“The information displayed on them, we need to protect,” Solomon said.
The updates also include new furniture necessary as the center is reconfigured in part to protect dispatchers’ safety, the sheriff noted.
Lt. Steve Stienecker said raising the floor allows them to put cables and wiring underneath since the walls are concrete.
The entire process could take up to six months to complete, Stienecker said.
Solomon said they are aiming to start work on the dispatch center as soon as possible, hopefully by the first of the year.
“We’re doing what we can now to save some money,” Solomon said of prep work being performed by county maintenance crews.
Money for the project is coming from the Sheriff’s Office’s annual budget.