911 call center to take over Lauderdale Co. dispatch calls - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

911 call center to take over Lauderdale Co. dispatch calls

Changes are coming to emergency dispatchers in Lauderdale County. Changes are coming to emergency dispatchers in Lauderdale County.
LAUDERDALE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

Changes are coming to emergency dispatchers in Lauderdale County.

The sheriff's department dispatch center will soon be operated by the county's 911 call center. It is a move to streamline the county's response time to emergencies. Officials say it's a move forward for the community, but it will cost some people their jobs.

Seven people who currently run the Lauderdale County Communication Center are losing their jobs as a result of the switch.

Sheriff Ronnie Willis said the decision was difficult to make but necessary to provide better care for the citizens of Lauderdale County.

"When somebody's hurt, seconds count," Willis said.

Starting on June 18, all emergency calls for the county will be answered by the 911 call center.

Willis said the move is a way for him to streamline his department and effectively serve the community by eliminating one step of the process.

"Our dispatch here cannot hear when someone calls 911, so they have to ask them the same questions over again," he said.

Officials say transferring calls can slow the process in emergency situations when seconds count.

"We've heard a lot of citizens talk about it: 'Why do we have to talk to two different people? Why do we have to answer those questions again if we have a husband laying here dying that's been shot and why wasn't it recorded for court?'" said Willis.

The 911 center is equipped with state of the art technology to help record and save conversations for future reference if needed.

"We want to take care of our citizens, but we also want to take care of officer safety for our deputies," said Willis. "Our phone lines and also radio lines at 911 are recorded so that helps us with officer safety."

He said he hates the switch will cost some people their jobs but said it's what's best for the county.

"It's sad to see them have to go. They've done a wonderful job here. When you look out for the public, you got to go with what's the right thing," he said.

Copyright 2013 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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