Porter County Sheriff's Department


What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department

 

Porter C-Comm 911 to Dispatch for Valparaiso City

Valpo dispatches last call

City's 911 telephone service now merged with county's operation

 

BY KEN KOSKY

Date posted online: Friday, February 01, 2008

 

VALPARAISO | A Valparaiso Police Department dispatcher announced over the police radio at 3 p.m. Thursday that the dispatch center in downtown Valparaiso officially is "10-42" -- the code for ending its tour of duty.

 

The city dispatchers took care of their last calls Thursday afternoon. Starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, the county dispatching center began answering any calls for service placed in the city. The county center is housed inside the Porter County Sheriff's Department.  The city decided in July to merge its dispatching service with the existing county operation to save money and boost efficiency, but it took months to get all the technology questions squared away.  Dave Sheibels, 911 director for Porter County, said Valparaiso residents should expect the efficient service to continue and in many respects will see improvement.  The city police had their dispatch center inside their old police station at 16 Indiana Ave. Because the city was getting out of the dispatching business, it didn't build a dispatch center in the new police station that opened Dec. 5 at 355 S. Washington St.  City dispatchers have spent the past two months alone in the old station, waiting for the county to take over. Of the seven full-time city dispatchers employed when the merger was announced, only three decided to transfer to the county dispatch center, Sheibels said. He said he ended up hiring two new dispatchers to ensure enough personnel.  The merger between Valparaiso and the county means Portage police have the only other major dispatching center in the county, although Porter, Chesterton and Hebron have small dispatching centers. Sheibels said there could be more mergers if the state mandates it or the municipalities want it.  "It does seem to be a trend to bring the smaller centers together under one roof," Sheibels said.  Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas said the merger saved the city $250,000 it would have spent to put a dispatch center in the new station and will save about $200,000 a year in dispatcher salaries.  The county dispatch center was built with future consolidation in mind, with only four of the eight work stations in use before the merger.

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