MIAMI, Okla. — Beginning next week, residents in Ottawa County will make a switch when it comes to calling for non-emergency services.
Those involved feel like this will streamline response times. That’s because the county is starting a consolidated dispatch center.
Starting Monday at midnight, residents of Ottawa County will need to call the Miami Police Department if they need non-emergency police, fire or EMS services. Currently when people in the region called 911 for those services — the call goes straight to Miami where it’s then passed along to the appropriate agency.
“We have to take that information and determine if it’s police, fire or EMS. And if it’s police, after taking the time to get that information, we still have to transfer it to Ottawa county,” said Valerie Barger – Public Safety Telecommunicator Manager.
Because of that, precious time is then wasted.
“From the time we find out what the information is, find out where it is, send it to them, they send out information and dispatch the call there’s three of four minutes wasted where we could get people help,” said Thomas Anderson – Miami Police Chief.
Anyone in the county, even from outside Miami, will now call Miami PD for those non-emergency services. With that extra step being taken out of the equation — not only will it save time, but it will make life easier for dispatchers.
“It’s going to take some of the workload off. Right now if we’re on 911, we’re talking on the radio, we’re talking on 911, we’re trying to dispatch EMS and fire,” said Barger.
And police officials believe this will save more lives.
“Dispatchers save seconds, seconds save lives and this merger is gonna save minutes. So we are really excited to provide that service to Ottawa county,” said Anderson.
With this new way of contacting emergency support — the dispatch center will now cover 25 agencies. They currently cover 23 agencies.
On a monthly basis — Miami dispatch will take anywhere from 5,000 and 6,000 calls.