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Rising 911 calls lead to request for more funding
Haston, Chuck - 911.png
Chuck Haston

The value of 911 and E-911 services will be among the topics discussed during the 2019-20 fiscal year budget sessions.

Warren County Emergency Communications director Chuck Haston is requesting an additional $15,000 from both the city of McMinnville and Warren County government for a total increase of $30,000.

“The increased demand on the 911 Center both within our core mission and beyond the core mission, have resulted in the need for more employees and resources,” said Haston. 

Due to an inter-local agreement by those governments signed in 2003, both currently fund the service by allocating $65,000 a year for a total of $130,000. This year’s 2019-20 fiscal year budget request is for $160,000. 

Primarily, the department is tasked with answering, locating, and processing calls and dispatching the appropriate agencies. In 2017, the department surpassed 60,000 dispatch events for the first time. Those are only the calls that warranted dispatching emergency services. Total calls received annually are twice that, or 120,000. 

Additional services include dispatchers accessing and providing National Crime Information Center information to officers. An NCIC background check is a computerized index of criminal justice information and includes criminal history and active warrants.

“NCIC workload, overall, has increased 40 percent, conservatively, due to TBI mandates and increased law enforcement activity,” said Haston. “The district purchased and installed two additional NCIC terminals, for a total of four, to meet demand.” 

Haston adds that protection orders have increased 50 percent, TBI bail bond order entries have increased 80 percent, and recent TBI Sex Offender Registry file maintenance mandate requires routine and daily attention. 

“Our ability to continue the services we provide outside of our core 911 mission depends upon adequate funding,” said Haston. “Should the district not secure additional funding from local government, the future financial picture would require us to negotiate fee-based agreements for each service we provide or transfer these activities to the agencies on whose behalf we perform them.” 

First stop in the request was the county’s Budget and Finance Committee. 

“I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the days when you had to call individual departments for services,” said Commissioner Tommy Savage. “It’s so much easier to just call 911.” 

Committee members approved the requested allocation of $80,000. However, changes can be made anytime during the 2019-20 budget process.