The town of Level Plains has seen its share of drama. Inside politics have led to unpaid bills, elected officials going to court, and a few unhappy neighbors.
But now, the city's police department is going "outside" the city to get better response time for emergency calls.
"There've been situations in particular areas where I worked and gone into a trailer, where the handheld didn't work and I came out with a beating, was sent to the hospital" says Level Plains Police Officer Marie Gunther
She almost lost her life because of a bad connection. It's gotten so bad that at times she's on one channel, while her co-workers have to call in on another.
"We have problems transmitting with each other, Level Plains is a small town. Of course if we're on top of a small hill, and that may sound humorous the communication may seem a little better, but if we're in holes we have difficulty communicating," Chief Lanice Bond says.
After beginning as the new Level Plains chief a month ago, he noticed there needed to be a change. He says the dispatch system is equivalent to a car radio and it's outdated. The system's signal doesn't provide a long range either. But that's all going to change.
"Central goes straight to the car, then the officer responds based on the information they are getting from central," Bond continues
But with the advantages for having this system, also comes disadvantages for Level Plains’ three current dispatchers. Debbie Nolin is one of them; she's worked with the department for seven years but now faces a lay off.
Some residents complain that going elsewhere for a dispatch system, could also mean, a less personal department. Others disagree.
The chief wouldn't say how much it will cost but says it will save thousands. If they upgraded, the dispatchers would have to be trained and certified to take distress calls. The new patrol cars should have new equipment, and be connected to Central 26 by February 1.
Central 26 is the main emergency response system for Dale County.
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