Latah Co. dispatch centers upgraded technology swiftly locates emergency calls

MOSCOW, ID - The Latah County Sheriff's Department has a brand new dispatch center that's keeping the employees more comfortable while allowing them to locate callers using the latest technology.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin takes us inside the updated facility and explains why the upgrade was much needed.

The Latah County Sheriff's Office recently updated its dispatch center.

"We went from equipment that's from the mid nineties to the most current technology that we could get at this time," said Latah County Sheriff's Office Support Services Administrator Mike Rosen.

The $305,000 upgrade was funded at no additional cost to Latah County citizens.

"We utilized the $187,000 Idaho Emergency Communications Commission grant, and then we supplemented the rest of the upgrade to the equipment with the Emergency 911 funds," said Rosen.

Now, dispatchers can locate callers using a digital mapping system that automatically locates calls from land-lines, and locates calls from cell phones much quicker.

"What we have the ability to do now is hit a rebid on there for the digital mapping," said Rosen. "And just hit rebid within about 30 seconds of the call, and it'll tell us where that caller is as far as the nearest location, as far as intersections or nearest crossroads."

"Somebody calls and says, 'I'm in a fight,' and then hangs up the phone, if they call on our 911 line, we know where they're at now instead of having to research the phone number," said Latah County Sheriff's Office Dispatcher Danielle Sunderland.

Dispatcher Danielle Sunderland said the equipment upgrade makes her ten-hour shifts more manageable because the ergonomics make her more comfortable.

"You know, I'm not going to the chiropractor as much because and things like that because it actually will fit me, and it just feels a lot better to sit or stand," said Sunderland.

Before the remodel, the county commissioners issued a study to find out if switching to the Whitcom consolidated dispatch center in Pullman would make more sense.

"They found that there is no cost benefit to moving to the other side," said Rosen.

Sheriff Wayne Rausch said he believes having local dispatchers in Moscow is beneficial because they have better knowledge of the county's geography, and it creates jobs locally.

"These are our funds that are generated here in Idaho, through the 911 system, and I think it's essential that they stay here in Idaho," said Rausch.

And he said the Latah County dispatchers do more than just answer 911 calls.

"Our people greet the public, they answer all the questions that the public has concerning non-emergency issues," said Rausch.

The upgraded software can get the location of a mobile phone caller within 45 to 60-seconds, and it has automatic call recovery that can retrieve calls that are dropped.