We should be using parish 911 center

Published 4:55 am Saturday, January 14, 2017

It is a shame the parish’s joint 911 communications facility is not serving the entire purpose for which it was built.

James Coleman, the chairman of the Washington Parish Communications District, made a very compelling case this week that not only is the technology better, but by requiring the dispatcher to focus only on emergency response, they will be better at emergency response.

So, if the location’s technologies, the computers and its decentralized locations would make it better than the current setup, there is no question that it should be used.

As it stands now, Franklinton, Bogalusa and the parish sheriff’s office each have their own 911 dispatch offices. Perhaps this setup has so far never been cause for any delay or confusion in emergency response. However, the greater the chances for delay or confusion, the more likely that at some point someone will suffer and possibly even die.

While we realize dispatch officers perform vital office tasks and losing them would require either additional work by existing staff or new hires, extra work and money hardly seem equal measures to a life. Moreover, if the dispatch work is at a combined location, presumably fewer workers would be needed. Therefore, perhaps it is possible for each law enforcement office to retain a single dispatch officer to work daytime hours around the office.

Whatever the solution is, we are confident that our three law enforcement offices could find a solution if they sat together and thought of one.

We encourage them to do this sooner, rather than later.