The Webster County Communications Center needs local businesses to contact the center and update information regarding who to contact in case of an emergency.
The Comm Center, located inside the Webster County Law Enforcement Center, is in the process of updating its records, and according to Dispatch Supervisor Heidi Smith, staff have discovered that some of the contact information for businesses is outdated.
"When people leave or get fired, we're not contacted so the information isn't changed," Smith said. "Sometimes if we call them at home, we'll find out that they no longer work there, and sometimes we'll find out that the person has died."
-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Webster County Dispatcher Dylan Hagen types information into one of the computers at the Webster County Communications Center. The Comm Center is in the process of getting updated contact information for local businesses. Dispatch Supervisor Heidi Smith said some records are inaccurate and include names of people that are no longer employed at businesses.
Having information on who to contact, which is referred to as keyholder information, is important if a business becomes the target of a crime.
"If we have an open door or vandalism or an alarm, it's important that we have the right contact info and know how to get ahold of the people that own the property," she said. "Sometimes when something happens, we have to dig to find the property owner."
Sometimes dispatchers will have the name of a property owner, but not a contact number. Because not everyone is listed in the phone book, Smith said this makes informing property owners of an incident more challenging.
One recent example was when the windows were broken out of a downtown business.
"I had no contact information and no idea who to get ahold of," Smith said. "Trying to track down a phone number is difficult when you don't have a name."
The Comm Center has received some updated contact information thanks to officers who have stopped by businesses when they weren't busy with other assignments, but Smith said officers can't contact everybody.
"The officers have started doing building checks every night, and they're visiting a lot of the businesses I don't have," she said. "But that's usually just the business name and address. I don't have the name of a keyholder or a phone number."
That's why Smith said she is encouraging local businesses to contact the Comm Center to provide keyholder information.
"I like to have the business owner, home number and cell phone number," she said. "I also have information for fax numbers as well as the address and name of the business."
In addition to the business, Smith said the Comm Center is looking to update its records for people who have filled out 911 mailers.
This information lets dispatchers know of any medical conditions, locations of prescription medicines and other information in case 911 is called to a home and can't explain what's wrong to the dispatcher.
"We like to keep everything current," Smith said. "If they fill it out, I'll go into the 911 system and tag their phone number. When they call 911, all their information pops up on my screen."
Smith said any business that needs to update contact information should have someone call her at 573-2323.