The Sheriff's Office Communications Center receives both emergency (911) and non-emergencies calls from landline, cellular, TTY and VoIP callers and dispatches law enforcement, EMS, and fire department units for the entire county. The Center also has the capability to communicate directly with fixed wing & rotary wing air ambulances, Wildlife & Parks Officers, Kansas Highway Patrol Troopers, and officers from many of the surrounding jurisdictions.
Sheriff Ron Ridley serves as the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Manager and coordinates all the technical telecommunications and radio functions for the Center. He also serves as Terminal Agency Coordinator (TAC) and the Local Agency Security Officer (LASO) for access to the Kansas Criminal Justice Information System. He is charged with writing and managing grant funding and the acquisition of new technology as the Center begins the transition from analog to digital radio systems and E911 begins the evolution to Next Generation 911 services.
Connie Olson first joined the Sheriff's Office in 2006 and after several years in Dispatch she briefly ventured into the private sector and then served as the Deputy Clerk in the Hodgeman County Clerk's Office before rejoining the Sheriff's Office in the Spring of 2010.
Felicia McKinley began her law enforcement career in 1999 as an emergency services dispatcher with Ford County before working as a dispatcher in the Kansas City metropolitan area. She has worked for municipal, county and consolidated 911 centers during her career and returned to HGSO in early 2012 after spending two years with Ford County Communications. Felicia serves as the primary agency TAC and as a Communications Training Officer (CTO). Felicia speaks fluent Spanish and is able to assist other deputies in contacts that they may have with the Hispanic community. Felcia also serves the agency as a part-time Deputy Sheriff and hopes to make the transition to being a full-time Deputy at some point in the future.
Rebecca Selfridge joined the Sheriff's Office in July 2013. Rebecca is relatively new to the field of Emergency Communications, but has quickly become an asset to the office.
Ron Peery joined the Sheriff's Office in June of 2014. Ron is a retired US Army veteran, retiring in February 2008 as a Major after 27 years of service. Ron served in combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan and was also stationed in Germany and Japan during his career; with his last duty station being Fort Riley Kansas. Ron brings with him a wealth of knowledge regarding communications equipment having been attached to Signal Corp units during his tenure in the Army.
WHEN SHOULD I CALL 911?
Dial 911 only in emergencies, examples would be: fires, medical emergencies, crimes in progress,or if a person believes they are in danger. If you don’t know whether to call 911 or not, calling is always the right thing to do.
WHAT NUMBER SHOULD I CALL FOR NON-EMERGENCIES?
Dial 620-357-8391 for all non-emergency calls. Although all calls (911 and 357-8391) are routed to the same dispatch center, 911 calls are handled on a higher priority. Dialing 357-8391 for non-emergencies keeps the 911 lines free to handle emergencies.
WHAT IS E911?
E911 is Enhanced 911 which automatically reports both the number and location of the caller, if the location is available. This information is referred to as the ANI/ALI (Automatic Number Identification/Automatic Location Identification). ANI/ALI information is received within 1.5 seconds from the time the 911 call is initiated.
HOW DO I BENEFIT FROM E911?
The benefits are obvious when you consider the number of callers that are unable to provide a location. These callers include young children, people who are suffering a medical condition and can’t speak,or people who are involved in a physical disturbance where they may not be able to speak to the dispatcher, etc. Having E911 helps get the needed location for the caller and allows the dispatcher to quickly send help.
IF THE DISPATCHERS KNOW WHERE THE 911 CALLS ARE COMING FROM, WHY DO THEY STILL ASK FOR A LOCATION?
One of the first questions you are asked when you call is “Where is the emergency?” This is an important question for several reasons: 1) Not all calls come from the location of the emergency. For instance, a neighbor may call to report a prowler or fire down the road. 2) Occassionally, the ANI/ALI information is received in error. or 3) The call is made from a disconnected cellular phone.
WHAT IF I CALL 911 FROM A CELLULAR PHONE VERSUS A LANDLINE?
The ANI/ALI information from a cellular phone is not always available when calling 911. The location of the caller may be shown on the map depending upon the cellular phone carrier. The cellular phone number should be available to the dispatcher, but it is always confirmed that the number shown is the correct number. In rural areas, cellular phones may not have enough signal to complete the call for the dispatcher and the caller to understand one another. When 911 is dialed from a land line, the ALI/ANI information is received, but it will be verified that the information we have is correct. The ALI information is always received from a land line because the phone carrier has the latitude and longitude of the residence address in their database. This enables our mapping to locate the caller.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I ACCIDENTALLY DIAL 911?
The best thing to do if you accidentally dial 911 is stay on the phone and explain to the dispatcher that you made a mistake. If you hang up, they will call you back. If you don’t answer or the line is busy, an officer will be sent to your location. Even if you hang up after just one ring, we still receive the information.
DO ALL CELLULAR PHONES HAVE THE ABILITY TO DIAL 911?
Yes, as long as the phone will turn on, 911 can be dialed. Parents, this is important to know for children who may play with disconnected or unused phones. 911 can still be called without having to dial 9-1-1. If you have a phone that you do not use anymore and wish to let children play with it, please take out the battery so the phone does not power on.
WHAT IF I DON’T KNOW MY ADDRESS?
Every house in the county has a specific address for that structure. If you don’t know that you have an address or don’t know what it is, please call the Sheriff's Office to find out what it is before you have an emergency. The Rural Route Box addresses are no longer valid. You will have a physical 911 address for your residence. Knowing your address is very important in all emergency situations as it insures that emergency services can respond as quickly as possible.
SHOULD I POST MY ADDRESS OUTSIDE MY HOUSE?
Yes, your address should be visible from the road. Do not assume that since your mailbox is marked you have posted your address—mailboxes are not always at the entrance of the driveway and are usually not marked clearly on both sides. If your house is not visible, then you should post your house numbers at the end of your driveway. The numbers posted should be 4 inch reflective numbers and be placed somewhere that can be easily seen both day and night. Remember, if your numbers are posted, this will help improve response times in the event of an emergency.
WHAT DO I NEED TO TELL MY CHILD TO DO IF THEY NEED TO CALL 911?
Make sure your child knows how to dial 911 from both home phones and cell phones. This is very important and needs to be taught to every child. When a child calls 911, they need to know the necessary information that they will be asked. Make sure they know their address. It is also helpful if the child knows their parents’ names or the name of an adult at the scene with them. Also post the address near the phone or at a location that they know to go to find the address. The child will need to try and briefly tell us what the emergency is, such as a medical emergency, an altercation, or a fire. We will try to stay on the phone with the child if possible until someone arrives on scene.
Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO)
National Academies of Emergency Dispatch
National Emergency Number Association