Two representatives from Lewistown, Kevin Myhre, the city’s manager, and Dorothy Gremaux, Lewistown dispatch supervisor, spoke in glowing terms about their move towards centralizing their dispatch center when they met with Carbon County Commissioners and various police and emergency personnel last week. The meeting took place at the Laurel Fire Department. Both Laurel and Red Lodge have expressed an interest in following on the same lines as Lewistown.
The Central Montana 911 Center operated by the City of Lewistown dispatches for three counties, Fergus County, Petroleum County and Judith Basin County, and covers a radius of 10,395 miles incorporating 40 different emergency service zones.
Both Myhre, also the Chairman of the State 911 council, and Gremaux told the room that all three counties came to them and turned their 911 funding over to Lewistown and that the relationships remain “good.”
Gremaux outlined the various responsibilities the 911 Center has for each county starting with Petroleum which have no dispatch capabilities:
•It takes and processes all calls and generates a call for service. It covers all 911 calls, including all paging for law, EMS and fire. It edits and maintains the 911 database including collection. All radio traffic including traffic stops and/or emergencies. All CJIN (Criminal Justice Information Network) work, law enforcement, EMS and fire paging. Paging is done on alphanumeric pagers throughout the county.
•All wireless 911 calls along with the majority of the wire line calls are answered through Central Montana 911. All paging is done on alphanumeric pagers for law enforcement, EMS and fire. All CJIN duties when needed. When a call comes in that belongs to Fergus County the center will take the information, dispatch if necessary then “relay” the call to the county dispatch for them to handle. The 911 center is also responsible for the editing and maintaining the 911 database including collection.
For Judith Basin:
•Judith Basin handles their own administrative dispatch Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Central Montana 911 center handles all 911 calls. After 5 p.m., weekends and holidays, the 911 center takes over all dispatch duties for the county. The 911 center also edits and maintains the 911 database including collection. The Central Montana 911 Center is required to complete CJIN functions when Judith Basin is transferred to the center. All paging in this county is done on the old voice pagers only through the Central Montana 911 Center.
The starting base salary for a supervisor is $16.80; a dispatch ll $15,92; a full time dispatcher $15.05; and a part-time dispatcher $14.64.
Both Myhre and Gremaux said the whole experience had been a “smooth transition” with “no problems over jobs.”
Carbon County Commissioner John Prinkki felt the Lewistown system “works well” while Myhre called the ”leap of faith” to do this a “Godsend.”
“It’s one system, you dial 911 and know the call is through,” he said.
Gremaux added that open communication between the entities “helps.”
John Grewell, Carbon County Commissioners, said he was as “enthusiastic as ever”, even though he acknowledged, “there are a lot of issues. What control is Carbon County Sheriff’s office willing to give up? It seems to be still an issue with Fergus County. What are our equipment needs?”
In the end he felt “it will work, and give us a better resource and I don’t think it will cost us any more money.”
The first working group to discuss plans to centralize is set to meet May 1 at 9 a.m. at the Laurel Fire Department.