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Friday, December 18, 2015

911 The Sheriff and the Jail

There are two very interesting sides to the Sheriff dispatching calls for service and 911 wanting to take over dispatching for the Sheriff.   Let us start with 911.  911 states it will save money if they take over and more importunately remove a delay of 90 seconds if they take over dispatching.  What they are not saying is once they take over it is done their way, by their rules and by their policies which may or may not conflict with the department they are dispatching for.  An example of that is a department may want to use call signs for their units or codes that best suits their needs and if 911 doesn't agree with that then 911 will not use them, their way or the highway so to speak.  911 should offer to rent dispatch space to the sheriff at the 911 center, and we wonder why that hasn't been done?   The issues and concerns over the dispatch and radios should be worked out with 911 instead of wasting $400,000.00.  You should be asking yourselves and the State of Alabama if the money is the discretionary funds came out of other pots of money. 

The Sheriff's refusal to turn over dispatch to 911 is one where she contends that her 11 dispatchers do other duties besides dispatching, such as clerical and are cross trained as jailers.  This (cross trained as jailers) helps her meet the demands of a federal court order of maintaining 103 jailers on staff.  This is a very dangerous interpretation of the court order, jailer means jailer, jailer does not mean dispatcher.  A dispatcher just as is a jailer is a very specific detailed job.  Jailers must make rounds and deal with the dangers of the inmates and their needs.  They must insure the safety of the jail at all times.   It must be noted that she counts courthouse security as jailers to meet the Federal court order mandated number as well.  

Dispatchers must be present to answer the phones, dispatch calls for service, interact with other law enforcement agencies by phone and radio, enter data into the NCIC computer etc..  They cannot leave the radio to go and monitor the jail if they do who answers the radio or the phones?

 Now we do agree that if the Sheriff wants to maintain her dispatch she should be allowed to, but they should be dispatchers only.  The dispatch room once she took office was moved into the jail's master control after she first took office, where as the dispatch center is accessible to the inmate population if there is ever an uprising, and the public from the lobby from the other side.  Dispatch should always be in a closed controlled environment.  Dispatchers should dispatch only, and the only clerical work should be entering arrest warrants into the NCIC computer. 

Counting dispatchers (nor courthouse security personnel) as jailers is not (in our judgement) what the federal court order demands when it stipulates that the department maintains 103 jailers.  103 jailers are 103 boots on the ground in the jail working the jail.  If 911 really wants to work with the Sheriff, offer to rent dispatch space at the 911 center.  But this would meant the Sheriff would have to hire 11 more personnel  who are actually jailers to be in complete compliance with the federal court order, and as we have  seen in the past Ana does as Ana sees fit, and it is not always right, legal, nor in compliance, and this folks is from a top law enforcement official that took an oath, let that sink in a bit.