HOUSTON – Following the Board of Supervisor’s acceptance of the City of Houston’s withdrawl from their E911 contract, members of the Sheriff’s Department and E911 office are looking for clarity in how dispatching will be handled.
Sheriff Jimmy Simmons asked the board for a procedure on who the E911 office will dispatch for and a priority list for calls. The county currently dispatches for the Houlka Police Department while Okolona dispatches its own services, although Okolona does call and radio in requests for tag information and other information relevant to security.
The City of Houston had contracted to pay E911 for dispatching services but did not renew their contract in January.
Supervisor Russell Brooks said E911 dispatching would return to the procedure it carried out before Houston contracted with the county.
“We were dispatching for Houlka before Houston pulled out and we’ll continue to do that because they haven’t caused us any problems,” Brooks said.
Supervisor Russell King questioned the fairness of dispatching for one town and not another.
“What’s the difference between Houlka and Houston?” King asked.
Jim Myers of the Sheriff’s Dept. and Houston City Marshal Billy Voyles both agreed each department in the county assists others in need of service.
“The City of Houston goes on county calls too,” Voyles said. “I have them do that because the county helps us and I feel like we should help them.”
Houston Mayor Stacey Parker asked the board for a written copy of standard operating procedures that indicate who the E911 office will dispatch for and how incoming calls are prioritized. E911 supervisor Patsy Gore said there is not a written SOP to cover the current situation.
Simmons reaffirmed that the county would continue to respond to any emergency call as needed.
“Any 911 call, we’re going to answer and really if those boys need help (Houston city police) and we know it, we’re going to help them.”
The board agreed to work toward asking all county muncipalities to assist with E911 funding for the next budget year.
Coming up to code
Samuel Buchanan of Chickasaw County Department of Human Services addressed the board requesting additions to the Family and Children’s Services building in Okolona to make it compliant with ADA standards. Buchanan said the bathroom inside the building is not handicapped accessible and also asked for metal poles in the parking area to be removed and filled in as a precaution.
Family and Children Services is housed in the former Okolona jail building.
“We’ll look at it,” said Supervisor Jerry Hall. “Even if they need a new bathroom, there’s plenty of room to put it in.”
The board asked Clerk Wanda Sweeney to draft a letter for Buchanan explaining the boards’ intention to bring the building into compliance.
In other matters, the board
n Heard from Myra Collins who represents Girl Scouts Heart of the South who expressed her appreciation for their continued support of the scouting program.
n Heard from Warden Brand Huffman about low numbers of inmates available to work on the paper crew.