At February’s quorum court meeting as resolution was passed separating the duties of dispatcher/jailers. Prior to this, for many years employees of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department have performed both duties; answering 911 and non-emergency calls, along with dispatching appropriate law enforcement, fire departments, and EMS to these requests for service. Additionally, they served as jailers with the duties of taking care of the basic needs of inmates along with the booking process during intake of arrestees. Now with the separation of duties officially enacted, dispatchers will have one primary task, that of handling 911 emergency calls along with the day to day task of handling radio traffic for law enforcement, fire, and EMS. Operations of the job of 911 dispatcher will now fall under the control of Franklin County 911.

Our target date for official operations change will be Monday March 11th. Our goal is for a smooth transition. Over the past several weeks officials with both agencies have worked together towards this goal. Employees with FCSO were given an opportunity to transfer over to FC-911. We are happy that two accepted a position with us, which will help ensure a smooth as possible transition. Eight new positions have been filled, and the majority of those persons currently undergoing a six day orientation and training process. Continuing education for all ten employees will take place over the next nine to twelve months through an on-line vendor which specializes in telecommunications, including emergency medical dispatch. In addition to the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC) Level 1 training, new dispatchers have been training in basic information gathering, taking descriptive information, missing or abducted children call processing, radio communications techniques, Fire Department and EMS call processing, along with presentations from local officials with law enforcement, fire, EMS, and emergency management. For at least the next year, Franklin County 911 Dispatch and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department will share the same building, with FC-911 dispatchers working from their own communications terminals at one end of the radio room. Hopefully by around this time next year, FCSO will be moving into their new facility located along Airport Road in Ozark. At that time, renovations to the old facility will begin, with it becoming the home office and operations center for Franklin County 911. For non-emergency calls inside Franklin County, which includes the Altus, Denning, Barnes, Cass, Cecil, Watalula, Webb City, Charleston, Branch, Oak Bend, Etna, Vesta, Pleasant View, Fern, Ozark, and Wiederkehr Village areas, please continue to call (479) 667-4127. Your call will be answered. For an emergency, dial 9-1-1. At any time during regular business hours, you can call your local police departments in Altus, Charleston, and Ozark for non-emergency service and questions pertaining to their jurisdictions.

Rick Covert

Franklin County 911 Dispatch Manager