Havre Daily News
A short city-county 911 committee meeting Tuesday finalized an April decision to put an emergency call center at the Havre Police Department once enhanced-911 service is available in the county.
The committee approved protocol for how the city Police Department and the Hill County Sheriff's Office will route emergency calls, and it also adopted bylaws. Those were the last steps the committee said it needed to take before cementing the April compromise.
"Everything is in place locally. Now we've got to send a revised plan to the state and get them to approve it," said Havre Fire Chief and committee member Dave Sheppard.
E-911 allows dispatchers to see the location of a caller, speeding emergency response. For six months, county officials advocated consolidating 911 facilities at the Hill County Detention Center once the service was available. They said the jail was built, in part, for that purpose. City officials advocated using the Havre Police Department as a main call center and the county facility as backup in accordance with a 2002 agreement.
Last month the committee agreed to a compromise that would adhere to the city's plan on certain conditions, including some particulars included in the two agreements adopted Tuesday.
The protocol for operating the emergency call center was reviewed in draft form two weeks ago and says that the Hill County sheriff and the Havre police chief will set day-to-day operations of emergency call answering. The Police Department will be the primary call-answering center for all 911 calls and the county jail will serve as backup. If the city needs help, it has to ask for it ahead of time unless there's an emergency.
As part of the compromise, the bylaws say that the county will appoint the committee's at-large member, giving the county a majority on the board.
The decision to locate the call center at the Police Department cannot be revisited for five years, according to the protocol agreement. Also, future hardware updates will be made to both the county and city facilities, according to the agreement.
This year the Havre Police Department has received about $130,000 in 911 equipment upgrades from John and Darlene Sharp. The Sharps will be honored at a ceremony Friday at 10 a.m. at City Hall.