Sheriff Seeks to Head Emergency Communications Center

TOPEKA, Kan. - Shawnee County Commissioners have put on Thursday's agenda whether to change an agreement between the city and county to allow the sheriff's office to head the county's emergency communications center when director Bill Singer retires.

Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center uses the national dialing code 911. The Center and service dispatch and coordinate emergency response agencies: law enforcement, fire, first responders, and ambulance service.

The Center currently has an interlocal agreement between the city and county that spells out parameters for who should run the center. The current agreement specifies that whoever runs the center be an individual independent of any agencies the center serves.

A managing board in charge of setting operation policies and procedures and giving recommendation for the hiring/ firing of a director of the center, will be charged with determining the next course of action. The board and county will need to agree for the current agreement to be changed.

Singer has been with the center for 11 years and says he hopes whoever takes over his position will be someone able to stay in the position for an extended period of time, at least five years.

Singer also says he thinks the sheriff could run both offices. "I think it can be done, but there's still the learning curve. I've been through two-and-a-half years of getting it (the center) up and running."

Singer said he has spoken with Sheriff Barta about his request to head the center. He told Barta the idea should be discussed with the managing board. Singer says if the board agrees with the sheriff's proposal, then it would go before the political bodies to make it happen.

July 31, 2008 will be Singer's last day as director before retirement.


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