Independence County Sheriff's Department looking to move 911 dis - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Independence County Sheriff's Department looking to move 911 dispatch

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) -

In December, the city of Batesville voted to end the 30 year inner-local agreement with the Independence County Sheriff's Department to start their own police force.

In about 5 months, Batesville plans to have their police department up and running, but decisions have to be made concerning the 911 dispatch center.

“The prospect of dispatch being moved arose and some thinking outside the box,” Independence County Judge Robert Griffin said.

Thinking outside the box led Griffin to a solution he believes would be a huge benefit.

“Trying to use a workforce training concept with one of the schools in the area, even a high school, and locating dispatch there,” Griffin said.

The Independence County Sheriff's Department's 911 dispatch center would be separated from Batesville police and moved to the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville campus.

A workforce training program would be designed to give students new career opportunities, and Griffin said UACCB likes the idea.

“They are interested in moving forward,” Griffin said. “Very preliminary stages and it does seem to have a chance that it could come to fruition.”

Griffin said he did some research and found a program like this already exists in Florida.

Griffin said location is important and that is why Batesville would be the best fit because it's a regional location.

With the possibility of grants, money isn't a concern.

“A lot of opportunity with a small investment then it certainly becomes attractive to look at the possibilities,” Griffin said.

Until a final decision is made, Griffin said the partnership between Batesville and the sheriff's department will continue.

“Public safety, and officer safety, and firemen safety is of the up most interest and we will remain unified to achieve that objective,” Griffin said.

Other options include keeping the 911 dispatch center as it is now. The possibilities are being discussed between county and city officials.

Griffin said they will be working hard the next five months to come to an agreement.

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