- Outagamie County is getting a new 911 communications center. The sheriff’s department says this is long overdue.
- American Rescue Plan Act funding is covering around two-thirds of the project. The rest is coming from county funding.
- The sheriff's department hopes the new building will help the communications center become a more desirable place to work and help them fill positions.
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
The Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office has been pushing for a new 911 communications center for years and after some pushback it's finally underway.
I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter, taking you inside the current center and giving you a sneak peek at plans for the new one.
“We are out of space we have nowhere else to go with people,” said Lt. Borman.
The current 911 communications center is in downtown Appleton's Outagamie County building basement, which has been abandoned by all other departments.
“Our current coms center doesn’t allow for distancing doesn’t allow for growth,” said Lt. Borman.
Outagamie lieutenant, Nathan Borman, worries that the lack of space and sunlight have made it a lackluster place to work.
“It’s facing a critical staffing crisis. We are down nine of our 31 dispatchers and frankly they’re in an environment that just isn’t suited for 24 seven operations,” said Lt. Borman.
Thanks to American Rescue Plan Act funding and additional county funds, they’re finally making some much needed changes as construction has begun for the 911 center's new home, next to the sheriff's department on the city's northeast side.
“Our new coms center is significantly larger, over three times bigger. It also allows for expansion in the existing building,” said Lt. Borman.
At a rough cost of $5.7 million, the new 911 center will feature new consoles, new radio equipment, and new phone & 911 systems.
“It’s designed in a way that it should live and last for a long time,” said Lt. Borman.
They’ve been pushing for this project for quite some time but didn’t always have the support they needed.
The sheriff’s office gives all credit to the county board.
“They came down they saw the current work conditions and they understood,” said Lt. Borman.
Outagamie County Executive, Tom Nelson, says he supports the project and knows it will benefit the county.
“When it comes to public safety, and the services you get from a 911 center is absolutely indispensable,” said Nelson.
Things are already moving at the site of the new 911 center, and they expect construction to finish up in December of next year.
In Appleton, Olivia Acree NBC 26.