By Ron VandenBoom
Workmen are busy installing the radio and other equipment this week that will give the Havre Police Department a 24-hour dispatch capability from their home on Fourth Street.
Police Captain Mark Stolen said Wednesday that he expects the first stages of the operation to be fully functional by July 1, providing service from 8 a.m. to midnight with complete 24-hour service available within a few weeks.
The Havre City Council approved the creation of the new dispatch center in May citing a growth in the number of calls being handled by the current system that was established in 1979.
Stolen said that currently people calling the Police Department after 5 p.m. hear a recording asking them to wait while their call is transferred to the dispatcher at the Hill County Sheriff's Office.
The new Zetron equipment being installed by Mobil Communications Service of Great Falls, will provide quicker links to city police as well as other city services such as fire, ambulance services, and the Public Works Department, Stolen said.
Arrangements are also being made to provide enhanced 911 services through the Havre Police Department dispatch system.
The enhanced system should allow automatic phone number identification and location in the city once it is installed. This service may take longer, however, due to the length of time necessary to establish a new 911 jurisdiction.
Stolen said the new communications center would not be a duplication of services, but should ease the burden on county dispatchers.
He added that within a month he hopes to have the Criminal Justice Information (CJIN) terminals completely operational.
The terminals provide data on criminal history, wants and warrants, and other information officers need to perform of their duties.
Manuals on the operation of CJIN have already been order, Stolen said, and training on the use of the equipment will begin as soon as they arrive.
Three full-time and three-part-time employees have been added to the police department staff to man the new dispatch center and assist people who come to the department after hours.