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County changes dispatching procedures

By Staff | Dec 27, 2013

As of Dec. 19, under direction of Sheriff Mike Martens, Emmet County dispatchers are changing their response to calls for service from Armstrong.

The change came about as a result of $13,000 in unpaid dispatching fees due from the City of Armstrong to Emmet County. The county is still dispatching emergency calls. However, those not deemed of an emergency nature are being referred to Armstrong Police Chief Craig Merrill.

“We’re going to deliver those the same we always have,” Sheriff Martens told the supervisors Tuesday, adding that there will be no impact on fire and ambulance services. The only difference will be how routine police issues are handled, Martens said.

Martens said he had explained to staff how calls should be screened. “Since this has come up, it has happened that we’ve had to screen it,” Martens said. “Apparently they’re (Armstrong) sourcing those somewhere else.”

Martens said the Algona Police Department handles dispatching for Kossuth County which pays the city 38 percent of its cost for dispatching. Martens said Chief Merrill had contacted Kossuth County about accessing its dispatch services; however, Martens said the Kossuth County sheriff said there was no agreement to handle services for Armstrong. He also noted that the City of Emmetsburg pays 70 percent of the cost of dispatching to Palo Alto County.

Martens said there has been no change as far as how the sheriff’s office assists Armstrong’s police department. That arrangement is a separate agreement from dispatching.

Martens said the dispatching agreement with the City of Armstrong ended 11:29 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 19.

He underscored that if there is an emergency, “It will get dispatched” while non-emergency calls will be referred to Chief Merrill.

In other business at Tuesday’s board meeting, county engineer Roger Patocka said in the road report that crews had made a snow run last week and were working on equipment. He said Heartland Construction had the low bid for asphalt overlays in Wallingford and near Ringsted.

Mike Raner of Northwest Iowa Planning & Development Commission, coordinator of the Shield Safety Program for the county, noted minor changes in the county employee safety manual.

Raner reviewed procedures for emergency calls due to work-related injuries and lauded the county’s 307-days without a lost-time accident.

The board approved safety manual updates and also followed the county assessor’s recommendations on business property tax credit applications.