The computerized dispatching system replaces a 1993 model that the sheriff's department couldn't hardly get parts for. Now with the move of the Scioto County Sheriff's Office into the Scioto County Law Enforcement Center, the 911 dispatch was relocated and the 911 system for the sheriff, the Portsmouth Police, the New Boston Police and all the fire departments was upgraded entirely to the new system.
Sheriff Marty Donini said the county had been looking into getting a new system for several years.
“We were anticipating problems with what we had if we continued with what we had,” he said.
Donini said that in Ohio, it's the sheriff's office that is responsible for the 911 system and in some counties the sheriff does all the dispatching for all agencies.
The upgraded system was a part of construction of the new jail facility. Donini said the delay between opening the jail in April and moving in the dispatch was caused in part to ordering the equipment in February and then getting the wrong equipment in.
Scioto County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Dunham compared the new system to getting a present.
“When you're looking at probably the only green computer monitor that was left in Scioto County and then you get a flat-screen computer monitor with all the new data and the new features,” he said. “It's like Christmas.”
The new system is Phase 1 and includes a mapping program, cell phone and a general location of the caller. All the data in the old system has been entered into the new system. Further phases will include being able to pinpoint where a cell phone caller is originating.
Under the old system, if a dispatcher had to send someone to Pike County they would have to call the agencies by phone. With the new system, practically every law agency from the Ashland Post of the Kentucky State Police to the Waverly Police can be contacted by just hitting an icon on the screen.
“Before we could just connect with adjacent counties like Adams, Lawrence and Pike,” Dunham said.
The new system also allows dispatchers to stay connected after a call is transferred.
New Boston Police Dispatcher Abby Spears said she's a fan of the new system because it's easier to transfer calls to other agencies.
“It's very nice for having everything you need right there on the two screens,” she said.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.