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Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin
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Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin

Work to combine Meade, Butte dispatch services to be completed by January


News Staff - September 3, 2019

STURGIS — Work continues to combine law enforcement dispatch centers for Meade and Butte County into one facility in Sturgis.

According to Meade County Sheriff Ron Merwin, cost savings, increased efficiencies as well as qualifying for more 911 surcharge fees are all factors in moving forward with the project.

Dispatch  centers in the two counties currently operate with about eight dispatchers each. Merwin said the combined center would staff eight Meade County dispatchers and four from Butte County.

At present, both dispatch centers serve areas with populations under 30,000. Combining the two will result in qualifying for additional 911 surcharge fees. And eliminating one of the computer systems used in dispatch will save as much as $58,000,  as will a  staff reduction.

Since the introduction of 911 call centers in South Dakota, the state has encouraged combining centers. At present, there are less than 15 call centers in South Dakota.  According to state officials, the goal is to have four or five.  

Merwin points to successful working agreements between the two counties that are already in place as the foundation of a successful merging of dispatch services.

The new center will be responsible for dispatch services for the following agencies:  Meade County Sheriff, Sturgis Police, Sturgis Volunteer Fire Department, Sturgis Ambulance Service,, Belle Fourche Police, Belle Fourche Volunteer Fire Department, Butte County Sheriff, Butte County Ambulance Service, Nisland Fire Department, Newell Ambulance Service, Newell Fire Department, Vale Fire Department, Faith Police, Union Center and Enning Fire and Ambulance, Hereford Volunteer Fire Department and Summerset Police.

The goal is to have the merged dispatched services completed by January of 2020.



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