Updates to the dispatch center, which handles all 911 calls for Auglaize County, are expected to be complete by May 1.
“This is something that has been needed for a few years but we needed to be in the position where we could get it done within our budget,” Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon told the Wapakoneta Daily News on Wednesday.
He said the Auglaize County commissioners worked with him during the past year to ensure the funding needed would be there without going over budget. The $33,230 in improvements were paid from the Sheriff’s Office regular annual budget.
Solomon said the revamping of the dispatch center, which began March 19, is not only for the safety of dispatchers, but for the privacy of citizens. It also should allow for technology updates to more easily be accommodated.
Dispatchers, the first contact the public has with the office, faced away from the front door before the updates and couldn’t easily see if someone was waiting to speak to them. Since the dispatchers faced away from the window, the information displayed on their computer screens could be seen by waiting members of the public.
“The information displayed on them, we need to protect,” Solomon said.
With the updates, dispatchers are to face the walk-up window as they work the two new stations. A third station also is being installed, which Solomon said should cover the needs of the county for years into the future.
Throughout the years as technology has changed, updates have been made to the equipment used by Sheriff’s Office dispatchers but wiring issues developed and old furniture often was not compatible with the changes.
“The old Sheriff’s Office equipment came out here when we built the building in 1998,” Solomon said. “New furniture wasn’t included in the budget at that time and it’s been there for years. This gives us a chance to update furniture and technology.”
Also included in the remodeling plans are raising the floor to provide for easier accessibility to wiring, which is to be placed underneath as the walls are concrete, and lighting improvements, which should make screens easier to see and read.
Plans for updates to the dispatch center began more than a year ago and remain on schedule to be completed by the May deadline. The construction time table was short, just 30 days, as the dispatchers were moved to a temporary location throughout the process.
Solomon said they are trying to make all the updates they can to the dispatch center at one time to save costs.