Michael (Mike) Turner, whose 38-year career with the Central County Emergency 911 dispatch center includes 24 years as its executive director, will retire Oct. 1.
That announcement was made by the dispatch operation through Tim Flora, chairman of its board of directors.
“Mike has successfully steered this important public safety organization into the 21st century, both in technology and operations, with a steady hand,” Flora said in the announcement.
The Ellisville-based center answers 911 calls and dispatches fire and emergency medical personnel from the fire and EMS entities it serves. Recent consolidation moves involving similar operations in north and south St. Louis County have greatly enlarged the number of first responder agencies whose calls are handled by Central County.
Turner will continue working full-time through September, Flora noted.
A longtime West County resident, Turner, 60, began his career with Central County in 1977 as a dispatcher. He rose through the ranks and was appointed executive director in 1991.
During his tenure as head of the dispatch center, he led the organization through a number of major changes and leading edge technology moves that included being the first in the region to have computer-aided dispatching capabilities, mapping technology to locate 911 callers in need of help and being able to route the closest available emergency personnel to reduce response times.
Turner also oversaw the design and construction of Central County’s current facility on Weis Avenue in Ellisville.
“I’ve had the good fortune to work with outstanding elected officials and fire and EMS chiefs through the St. Louis region during my career,” Turner said, noting that the most important members of his operation are “the dispatchers who answer the public’s call for help 24/7.”
“The public can rest at night knowing that help will be there when they call,” he continued. “I will miss working with the tremendous team we have built (here) … but I am also looking forward to another chapter in my life.”
Turner and his wife, Nancy, have a daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.
Although there have been rumblings of a possible merger of the Ellisville operation with the new St. Louis County Emergency Communications facility in Ohlendorf West Park, Flora said the Central County board is moving ahead on the basis that it will remain a separate entity. To that end, it will begin a search for Turner’s successor immediately.