Ralls County residents react to 911 center closing - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Ralls County residents react to 911 center closing


As of Tuesday, Ralls County does not have a 911 center.  Late Monday night, the 9-1-1 board unanimously decided to shut down the center after losing its executive director and several other employees in the last month, but how long could it stay closed?

Marion County 911 Director Michael Hall is acting as interim director for Ralls County.  He says the 911 board needs to come up with a long-range plan to address a number of operational, training, and management issues before the New London center can reopen.  In the meantime, five full-time and five part-time employees are out of a job, and Marion County will continue to take Ralls County's 911 calls.

"Well it does sadden me to think that that beautiful building and employees will be out of a job and it is saddening," said Ralls County resident Paula Evans.  
Evans is one of many Ralls County residents who are sad to see the center shut down.  They also have concerns about another county handling their 911 calls.

"If it's being answered at all, I'm thankful that Marion County is stepping in.  But I would definitely have the call answered in Ralls County where they're familiar with the area.  The people that work here knew people, connections, and it's just a better fit," Evans said. 

But Marion County 911 director Michael Hall says residents have no need to worry.  He said his dispatchers are familiar with Ralls County and some even live there.  But he admits it won't be a perfect system.
"We have a good feel for the layout of Ralls County but it's a large county and there are local landmarks and issues like that if a responder uses a local landmark, we may have to ask them to clarify," Hall said.  
Hall said temporarily closing the Ralls County 911 center is the best thing for residents.  A recent assessment showed the center was understaffed and not all of its dispatchers had the proper training.   
"The state of Missouri has minimum standards of training that's required to be allowed to dispatch and in some cases that was not met," Hall said. 

Hall said its the Ralls County 911 board's goal to get the center reopened as soon as possible, but they want to make sure it will operate efficiently when it does.  There's a public hearing scheduled for August 13th at Mark Twain High School to discuss the future of the 911 center. 

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