Beatrice-based 911 center adding Richardson County, to coverage area

BEATRICE – Richardson County in southeast Nebraska is becoming a member of the Southeast Communications 911 Dispatch service area.

The Beatrice City Council approved a plan for the computer-aided dispatch center based at the Beatrice Police Department to serve the county located in the southeast corner of the state. Richardson County will pay a fee of $180,000 in the first year of a three-year agreement, approved on a 6-0 vote by the council.

Chief of Beatrice Police, Bruce Lang says the arrangement should be mutually beneficial. He says Richardson County benefits by getting good service and being able to share resources that might not otherwise be affordable. He also says it allows the Beatrice center to have more staff to handle things like major emergencies.

The communications center plans to add two more full-time dispatchers, allowing it to have three dispatchers on staff, around the clock, seven days a week.
Lang says Richardson County will be putting up a tower.

"And, that links the entire state of Nebraska with microwave towers and that's how we send these signals all over the place. It's a redundant system. That's how we connect with Crete, that's how we'll connect with Richardson County."

Lang says the Southeast Communications Center has had initial discussions with Johnson County officials about the services the center can offer.
"We've always held the olive branch out, that others could join. A lot of these counties don't have a lot of residents...and so having a stand-alone dispatch center for a county that has five thousand people in the whole county, really doesn't make any economic sense. When you start talking about having to buy half a million or a million dollars worth of equipment, then it really doesn't seem to make any sense."

The Southeast Communications Center will now serve Gage County, the City of Beatrice, City of Crete and Richardson County.