(11/07/2008)
A message taking agreement between the West Virginia State Police and Calhoun's 911 Center will be discontinued.

The Memorandum of Agreement called for the 911 center to be a general answering service for the Grantsville Detachment during off-hours, weekends, and holidays.

The 911 Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend to the 911 Director Gary Buchanan to discontinue the agreement because of several issues related to non-compliance by the State Police.

Thomas R. Fox, chairman of the advisory board, said "The message taking agreement has placed dispatchers in a difficult decision making role about calls other than those received by 911."

Fox said 911's role "should be just giving calls and letting the police respond."

Most advisory board members felt the State Police is better equipped to respond to calls made to their detachment, that dispatchers should not be placed in a situation that sometimes required deciding about the non-911 calls importance.

Under the agreement, during lunchtime, off-hours, holidays and weekends, calls to the Grantsville barracks had been forwarded to the 911 center.

The agreement called for a number of other duties to be performed by 911 dispatchers, record keeping, complaint handling, etc.

The State Police failed to install special phones in the 911 Center that would indicate to dispatchers the call was designated for the agency.

The agreement was originally approved by the previous 911 Director and the Calhoun Commission in 2005.

Buchanan said the 911 Center officially withdrew from the agreement in October 2007.

The agreement had been continued as a courtesy to the State Police.

Buchanan said that on November 1, the center will revert to a previous procedure, where the 911 center is responsible for emergency police calls only and non-emergency calls will be forwarded to the South Charleston Command Center.

Emergency calls will likewise be processed for the Calhoun Sheriff's Department and the Grantsville Police Department.

Citizens should direct all non-emergency calls to the State Police barracks in Grantsville (354-6334).

"The 911 Center dispatchers will make every effort to contact the officer on duty to respond to emergency calls. If unable to contact a State Policeman, the call will be forwarded to the South Charleston communication center," said Buchanan.

"The 911 Center will continue to work cooperatively with all agencies to provide effective service to the county," he concluded.


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