Decatur Police Chief Ken Ketzler uses the new phone installed in the police station lobby for the public to use now that the station's dispatch center is closed. (Photos by Jannaya Andrews)
The dispatch center at the Decatur police station on Third St. was officially closed down on Wednesday.
Now, calls to the police department's telephone number, 724-3123, will be answered by an electronic operator, and the caller will be asked to hang up and call 911 if it is an emergency or to call 724-5345 for all other calls. The call to 724-5345 will be answered by someone in the communications center in the Adams County Jail
All dispatches to city police now come from the communications center at the county jail.
Although there will be no dispatchers at the police station, its main lobby portion will be open 24/7 for people coming to the station wishing to make a report. A telephone located in the lobby is for the public to use to connect to the dispatch center at the jail.
And, of course, officers will be in the station at various times.
When somone uses the police station phone and calls the dispatch center, officers will be dispatched back to the station to take reports as usual, if they are not at the station at that time.
The administrative office hours of the city police department will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and that office may be reached by calling 724-8646. Any calls for service coming in on that line will also be referred to 911 or 724-5345.
The administrative office will be closed all holidays that City Hall is closed.
Halting dispatching at the police station is ending a duplication of services and is expected to save the city up to $100,000 annually, Mayor John Schultz has said.
All 911 calls have been dispatched from the jail's dispatch center in the past. Decatur now joins the City of Berne, and the towns of Geneva and Monroe in having all calls go through the jail's dispatch center.