The 911 call center and dispatch operations is operated on a 24-hour basis providing all 911 call-taking services for Josephine County. The center dispatches for the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety, American Medical Response (AMR), Rural Metro Fire Department, Wolf Creek Fire Department, Williams Fire Department, Illinois Valley Fire Department, and occasionally to the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Marci Haack is the Dispatch manager of the personnel in the Dispatch Center, Dispatch manager Kristen Guenther is the 911 Coordinator/Liaison.
The Communications Center of the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety is essential in providing quick, effective and efficient service to both the civilian population and Department employees. The Communications Center is responsible for radio communications, telephone communication, and operation of automated data systems.
The department maintains 24-hour telephone communications service through its emergency 911 enhanced telephone system, non-emergent phone lines, and radio communications.
The Communications Center is part of the Support Services Division. There are 17 full-time Telecommunicators who have a primary duty of 911 call-taking and dispatching. In addition, the agency utilizes several experienced on-call Telecommunicators to assist in covering time-off and service needs. Police Telecommunicators are trained in radio communications, emergency medical dispatching, incident command system, and a wide variety of other topics.
This high stress position requires calm under pressure. The ability of Telecommunicators to extract information from frantic callers and tense police critical incidents, neutralizes exposure that may be dangerous to responding officers.
Josephine County 911 Agency
Beginning in 1981, Josephine County launched efforts to develop a 911 system. Community members, emergency service providers, and representatives from the municipalities and the county met regularly for nearly 6 years to determine the structure for a 911 organization. In 1987, a final plan was adopted, submitted to the State Office of Emergency Management, and the 911 program was approved. The cities and the county held all 911 phone tax proceeds from 1981 to the formation of the agency in trust; the funding that brought the agency to life and allowed full operations for nearly a decade. The agency began with existing dispatching equipment and a call-taking contract with the City of Grants Pass.
Basic 911 service was first offered to Josephine County residents on September 11, 1988, and by the end of 1988, basic 911 was available to all area residents. Callers were transferred to area responder agencies based on the type of call.
Josephine County became among the first 10 county agencies to begin enhanced 911 service to most residents on December 12, 1989. Enhanced 911 permits the identification and location of the call to be displayed on a computerized screen available to the call taker. This permits response even when the caller is incapable of providing relevant information.
In 1993, the 911 Agency completed construction of a new dispatch center. The new center allowed more automated processing of all emergency calls and greater efficiency for call reception and dispatch functions. The 911 Agency began dispatching for most of the emergency service providers in Josephine County from the new dispatch center.
Over the years, the dispatch system has undergone several changes in structure and form, being managed at different points by direct employees of the 911 Agency as well as the County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Grants Pass. In 2008, the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office chose to operate their own dispatch console and no longer receives dispatching services from the City of Grants Pass.
Board of Directors
Today, the 911 Agency is governed by a Board of Directors. The board is comprised of representatives from the City of Cave Junction, the City of Grants Pass, Josephine County, a representative of state and federal Agencies, the Chairperson of the agency’s budget committee, a representative of the agency’s customer group, and a member at large representing the public. This board contracts with the City of Grants Pass for agency management, call taking, and dispatch services. These functions are assigned to the Communications Unit of the Public Safety Department.
The agency’s Board of Directors meets every month on the 3rd Tuesday to discuss agency business. The meetings are open to the public. Contact Kristen Guenther at 541-450-6282 for further information.