The Morgan County Sheriff's Office is teaming up with the 911 dispatch center to help improve response times and cut down on costs.
The Morgan County Commission approved a contract between the sheriff's office and the central dispatch unit Tuesday morning.
WAAY 31 spoke with folks in Morgan County and learned what they think about the new emergency service.
“I think it’s going to be better for the city, easier for the caller, and a quicker way to get help out, if needed," Jowanna Birgans said.
That was Birgans’ reaction when she learned the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the 911 center--a number, unfortunately, Birgans has had to dial before.
“I had to repeat my call twice," she said. "It was very annoying and frustrating, because I needed help right then and there.”
And that's why the sheriff’s office will pay almost $14,000 per month so callers will only have to speak with one dispatcher instead of two.
Previously, Sheriff Ron Puckett says, if a person called Morgan County 911, the dispatcher would ask questions and transfer the call to the sheriff's office if it was necessary—meaning the caller would then have to repeat themselves.
With this change, the 911 center will be able to dispatch the sheriff's office immediately.
“I assumed that it was already in place," Whitney Crayton said. "It’s kind of messed up. You shouldn’t have to tell but one time what’s going on. When you call 911, obviously, it’s an emergency, so why would you need to tell something two or three times to somebody?”
The sheriff says the new change will save time.
“What we want to try to do is speed up our response time and, hopefully, help our citizens when they call," Sheriff Puckett said.
“Time is very critical," Birgans said. "It could save more lives."
And it will also save money, according to the sheriff.
“Where we were paying probably 10 or 11 dispatchers for dispatching services, now, we’re probably only paying for five," Puckett said.
Sheriff Puckett worked closely with 911 during his time as the Hartselle police chief. Now, as the Morgan County Sheriff, he’s excited to implement the same kind of teamwork with the Morgan County dispatch unit.
The sheriff says he expects the services to begin on February 4th.