MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

June 21, 2009

County dispatch stretches its legs

New space, equipment bring efficiency

Calling a Muskogee County Sheriff’s dispatcher no longer means you call the jail and wait for a possible connection.

Dedicated phone lines in new digs at the Muskogee County Courthouse ensure if the public calls the wrong agency for help, dispatchers will connect them immediately with the proper authorities.

“It’s a lot quicker for the public,” said Roy Banks, communications director for the sheriff’s office.

When dispatch was at the jail, the jail phones were ringing constantly, and getting patched through to dispatch was not a simple matter.

Dispatchers are no longer crammed into a small room about the size of a large closet.

Now, one dispatcher can check warrants on one of five new computers or do a background check for a deputy in the field while another dispatcher takes calls. The new office is about 32 feet by 15 feet and cost “probably less than $10,000,” said Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson.

And the days are gone of not being able to use the fax machine (which was on another floor) if you should be the only dispatcher on duty. A new fax is in the room.

Through a state system available in the new office via computer, a dispatcher can get a hard copy of any warrant issued.

They can tell almost immediately if a suspect has ever been in jail and obtain current addresses. They have impound logs on the computers.

County dispatchers field calls for small county towns, including Warner, Webbers Falls, Porum, Haskell, Braggs — “everybody but Fort Gibson.”

Cherokee and Creek Nation units get their information here when they’re in the vicinity, said Banks said.

The new office is in a safe, secure place in the courthouse, but they aren’t publicizing where in the courthouse. They want to continue to be safe and secure, Pearson said.

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