Sheriff's Department Takes Over 9-1-1 Calls for Tulsa County Residents
By Kim Jackson
For years the City of Tulsa has taken all 9-1-1 calls, but now the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office will be receiving their own calls, which will impact those outside of city limits.Both sides are calling this a win-win for citizens and it means an officer could respond faster because of the change. The county says they will save money and possibly save more lives. On busy days, the 9-1-1 center receives more calls than workers can handle, so many that callers have been placed on hold as Tulsa's Channel 8 reported in May. "We have not been getting the service that has been negotiated under the contract. We're usually subject to one dispatcher, and not multiple as the contract says we would have," Major Shannon Clark with the TCSO said.Clark says the county is taking back 9-1-1 calls and the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on the contract every year. For years, the county has paid the city to answer and dispatch emergency calls. Tulsa county will train its own operators and rent space in the current center until their new facility is built. The 9-1-1 center says they have been understaffed because of cutbacks over the years, but the director feels this change is a win for everyone."They bring their 12 in, I have got 12 that are free to go into the other areas of fire and call taking, so it bumps me up," Director of the 9-1-1 Center Terry O'Malley said.The new facility will be built in about two years as a part of the sheriff's office new training center construction.
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