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911 dispatch moves to county

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer


As of October 1, police dispatch services for the City of Hartselle will be moving to Morgan County 911. On a 3 -1 vote, with Councilmen Tom Chappell voting against the move, Council President Kenny Thompson and councilmen Ken Doss and Mike Roberson approved the change.

Mayor Pro Tem Smelser again noted that all five of the city’s dispatchers would be offered positions with the county system. They will actually receive a boost in pay and will keep their seniority, vacation time, sick time and holidays.

Thompson noted that when talking to the city firefighters,  they felt moving to the 911 county system was the best move they could have made. Hartselle FD is already dispatched out of the county system.

Police Chief Ron Puckett said the city has decided they want the county 911 to dispatch police emergency calls and his department will work within that realm and work to minimize any problems that may come through the change. “ I hate that no one will be here after hours to help anybody that comes to the police station,” Puckett stated. With the dispatchers on duty in Hartselle, there was always someone at the station.

Marianne Smith and Amy Shands, two of the current dispatchers were not happy with the decision to move their jobs to the county system.

Both three-year employees of the city say they will keep their options open as to taking the job offers with Morgan County 911. Smith felt that the decision was not thought through by the council and was a reckless decision. Shands thinks the decision was all about money.

Ryan Welty, director of county 911 says they will be able to learn from Hartselle how they handle police dispatch and county 911 has already approved buying new radios for Hartselle PD.

The decision to switch to county 911 was based on faster response times, new technology for the officers, the employees would not lose their jobs and the city could save up to $150,000 in per year.