Concerns raised over dispatch discussions

Community members and representatives from the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department were on hand at the Jan. 24 Chase County Commissioners meeting to express concerns over discussions the commissioners have had about the Chase County dispatch center.

Chase County Emergency Manager Duane Dreiling  and Chase County Sheriff Kevin Mueller plus Bill Whitlow, Kelsey Weiss, Rick Elliott, Doug Mitchell, Dan Robinson voiced worries after reading in the Jan. 19 Imperial Republican about the commissioners’ discussion.

The local firemen have heard complaints from other fire departments about moving their local dispatch to a dispatch center in Keith County.

Elliott, with Prairie States Communications, told the commissioners to remember that there are over 50 miles between Ogallala and Imperial, including a “big ridge.” Elliott said communications equipment will be expensive and added that the Keith County center’s console is full so it would need to add equipment as well. 

Elliott reiterated Sheriff Mueller’s concern about who would man the jail if the deputy on duty was needed for transporting a prisoner.

Sheriff Mueller said he had looked into Commissioner Dave Hogsett’s question as to whether or not the jail could move to part-time. Sheriff Mueller stated that if the jail changed to a temporary holding facility it can’t go back to being a regular jail.

Commissioner Don Weiss, Jr. reminded those in attendance the dispatch center is very expensive to run and Hogsett said the commissioners were taking their time to look into all the details. Vette took a firm stand for keeping the dispatch center in Chase County, saying there would have to be a pretty good cost saving to make the change and he was worried about what the future would hold after making the move.

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