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County to take control of 911-center

Colleton County is now taking control of the county’s only 911-emergency dispatch center.

During the last month, both the Walterboro City Council and the Colleton County Council have met and voted to accept a resolution that gives Colleton County control over the center.

Walterboro City Council discussed this in a special-called council meeting, held on June 21st.

Then, Colleton County Council included the matter in their most recent regularly-scheduled meeting, which was held on June 26th.

Both bodies of elected officials approved the resolution in their respective meetings.

Specifically, the resolution authorizes “the execution of an intergovernmental agreement for dispatching services,” as stated. This agreement is between the City of Walterboro, Colleton County and the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, which is the law enforcement agency that serves the entire county.

The agreement, which is specially called Resolution No. 18-R-47, says the county’s current 911-system will now be completely controlled by the county. Prior to this now mutual agreement, the dispatch system received input and resources from the county and from the City of Walterboro.

When we refer to the 911-dispatch center, this is the only emergency 911-center for the entire county. This center mans all emergency calls for the rural count and for the more populated areas, including the City of Walterboro and other municipalities. This sole dispatch center sends all emergency and medical personnel to all emergency scenes.

Traditionally, and according to the resolution, the City of Walterboro has provided some personnel and equipment to the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. This manpower and equipment has meant to assist the sheriff with the daily operations of the emergency call center. However, the City of Walterboro will now be removing personnel and equipment from the dispatch center, leaving the entire operation to the county.

“The City of Walterboro and the Sheriff’s Office believe that full operation of the Dispatch Center by the County will result in more efficient service and a better work environment for the employees of the Dispatch Center, and will likely improve the health, safety and welfare of all County residents,” as stated in the resolution approved by both the Walterboro City Council and Colleton County Council.

That resolution also states that the county’s officials deem is to be “in the best interest of the County” to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to control the dispatch center.

According to a resolution adopted by Walterboro City Council, the city will initially pay the county $162,000 for recurring costs associated with operating the dispatch center. The city will also pay the county $13,000 in one-time costs. These costs are associated with operating the center for the current fiscal year, which is July of 2018 through June 30, 2019.

In return, the city’s leaders say the county will also maintain all records and personnel needs and personnel records associated with operating the dispatch center.

It is unclear if this mutual agreement will cost the county any additional funds in future operations of the dispatch center.

However, emergency calls placed into the 911-center will continue to go as always: residents living in Walterboro will not see a change in how they ask for help, as the actual process for responding to emergencies has not changed.

Per the city’s documents, this agreement went into effect on July 1, and will last through June 30, 2023, unless it is otherwise terminated by either the county or the city.

Heather Walters (1346 Posts)