Following Monday’s Marshall County Commissioner meeting, 911 Director Matt Pitney offered a written response to comments read from Bourbon Town Council President Ward Byers concerning issues with dispatching from the Centralized Dispatch Center at the Sheriff’s Department.
Pitney says in his response, “President Byers made several allegations about issues with the Marshall County Central Dispatch. As already discussed with the County Commissioners, there were a number of issues outside of our control with the site trunking that began on the evening of June 12th and again on June 20th and lasted several days on each occasion.” He said the County’s site trunking plan, which is included in the Marshall County Comprehensive Emergency Plan: Communications Annex, was followed by dispatchers.
While Byers’ email indicated several concerns from Police Chief Bill Martin, Pitney said the chief only contacted him about one of the issues mentioned. Pitney said he researched each allegation and responded, commenting that each response can be backed up with the recordings and other documentation.
June 11th, 10:15 a.m. call at 9163 Cedar/Suter Road. Pitney said the dispatcher repeated the address back to the caller as Cedar Road two times and the caller each time confirmed the address. The dispatcher then asked if they were over by Bourbon and the caller stated “yes, east of Plymouth”.
The call on June 19th, at 2:20 pm at 4056 12B Road, was the only complaint that Chief Martin contacted Pitney about. The 911 Director said the officer was given the correct address when he called. It was very clearly given as 4056 12B Road.
July 12th call at 11:50 pm was actually on July 11th. The caller stated a crime in progress at 106 N. Thompson Street. This is verified by the recording. A Bourbon unit was dispatched to the location given by the caller and a Marshall County Sheriff’s Deputy who was in the area also advised he would respond to assist. Pitney’s response said, “No radio traffic or phone calls were located from the officer to let dispatch know that address was incorrect.”
On July 25th at 9 p.m. a Bourbon Officer radioed of an open door. Pitney said the officer was answered within three (3) seconds.
July 26th at 2:40 p.m. showed the Bourbon Officer on call at a crash on SR 17/SR 8. He said the officer went on Duty at the time that he was placed On Scene in the CAD. The dispatcher clicked the wrong command.
The call on July 14th, at 3:09 p.m. from a Bourbon Police Officer of a foot pursuit with an armed subject. The officer called out that he was in foot pursuit with the subject. Dispatch cleared the officer and asked the Marshall County Units if they were clear. 50-4 and 50-20 both advised that they were. 50-14 also went en route to the call but did not call in on the radio due to the Bourbon police unit having radio traffic. It should also be noted that an off-duty Plymouth Officer was in the area and was responding too. The timeline according to the recordings is:
15:09:22 subject spotted
15:09:46 subject running, foot pursuit
15:10:04 50-4 and 50-20 clear
15:10:10 Bourbon unit advised still westbound
15:10:20 Bourbon unit advised one at gunpoint
15:10:52 Bourbon unit advised one in custody
15:12:09 Dispatch checked the status of the officer
15:12:20 50-14 asked if he still needed to continue, Bourbon unit advised negative
15:12:37 50-4 arrived on the scene
Pitney’s letter states, “As I stated in the Commissioner’s meeting, every Chief in the county has access to me through both my office phone and my personal cell phone. I have always responded to issues that are brought before me. I am also a firefighter/EMT and have worked as a police officer. I have worked both sides of the radio and clearly understand the important role that dispatch takes in public safety. I once again encourage any elected official or Chief to reach out to me with any concerns they have with the Marshall County Central Dispatch and give me the chance to research and address them.”
His letter continues, “Our goal in the dispatch center is 100% perfection, however, that is not always possible. If we make a mistake, I will always remediate it and if necessary, reprimand my dispatchers. However, as noted above, sometimes the perspective in the heat of the moment by those working in the field is not supported by factual documentation.” He went on to encourage both the Bourbon Town Council and the Marshall County Commissioners to confirm the facts of the allegations before presenting them in an open meeting.
911 Director Matt Pitney said he is open to any communication to make the Marshall County Central Dispatch Center the best dispatch center and encouraged elected officials or the chiefs to schedule a visit to observe the dispatch center to gain a better understanding of what occurs there.