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Central County Emergency 911 recaps its efforts in responding to Ferguson’s needs

By: Jim Erickson

Personnel from Central County Emergency 911 brought their “A game” to help deal with the recent civil unrest that followed the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting death.

That description of how the dispatch center’s employees performed came from Michael Turner, CCE’s executive director, in a review of actions taken to handle the expected higher volume of calls for fire and emergency medical services.

At the Dec. 18 CCE Board of Directors meeting, Turner provided a detailed look at actions the agency took in the wake of planning efforts that began a month before the grand jury’s decision was announced.

The preparations involved key emergency personnel from North County and the region, as well as the CCE staff. Among other things, plans included setting up and equipping a “forward command post” inside a secure brick building in Jennings where steel plates were placed across the structure’s front wall to provide a bullet-resistant environment.

CCE personnel transferred gear from the agency’s mobile communications command vehicle and installed it and other needed equipment to make the Jennings location operational.

CCE employees and additional personnel obtained through the Missouri Telecommunicator Emergency Response Taskforce (MoTERT) worked 12-hour shifts during the November unrest to handle the higher 911 call volume and to staff the Jennings location.

Turner said CCE’s computer-aided dispatching software worked with no reported problems. A review of the center’s recording equipment also showed no calls were missed and no service was denied during the unrest, he added.

In addition, sleeping accommodations, meal arrangements and training were arranged for MoTERT dispatchers.

Turners report was greeted with accolades from the board and applause from audience members at the meeting. The board unanimously approved a motion to draft and frame a resolution of commendation to the CCE staff.

Jane Cunningham, a director representing the Monarch Fire Protection District on the CCE board, said she hopes a local restaurant or caterer will volunteer to provide a meal event as a reward to the dispatch center’s personnel.

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