Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2008

Police and fire departments install call box

February 28, 2008

About one year ago, a man who was having a heart attack pulled into the parking lot of the Eudora Police and Fire Departments. Fortunately, Eudora Police Cpl. Grady Walker just happened to stop by the police station to pick up some batteries for a camera and Walker was able call EMS personnel to attend to the man.

Likewise, Eudora Fire Chief Randy Ates recalled an instance where EMS and fire personnel were returning from a call and found an assault victim waiting outside the fire station.

"Since the police department is not always manned and the fire department is volunteer, people still show up not realizing no one is there," Ates said.

In previous instances, there was a payphone on the sidewalk outside the police and fire departments where someone could call 911. The payphone no longer exists, and Walker reminded of the fact that there should be a way for people to notify police or fire personnel in case of such emergencies.

The solution he came up with is a call box that will be mounted on the wall outside the police and fire departments.

The call box, resembling the small call boxes typically outside of private offices and residences, is known as a Code Blue InterAct.

After the call button is pressed, it will dial directly to 911 and keep the connection open for a minimum of two minutes, enabling a dispatcher to still be able to listen and talk in instances when a person becomes unable to speak or even is being assaulted.

The total cost of $980 will be split, with the police department paying 50 percent and the fire department and EMS both chipping in 25 percent.

"It was important enough of an issue that we decided to take it out of some of our operating expenses because the citizens need this," Walker said. "I'd like to think that if this works successfully, the city would look at this as a possibility for other areas of the city, as well."

Walker, who has been with the police department for five years and recently graduated from the Law Enforcement Training Center at Kansas University, also had the department install a doorbell outside the police department.

Police personnel are not always inside the station, so there were cases were people would call Douglas County dispatch just looking for a particular officer.

There also were instances were someone in need of help would come to the police station and knock on the door expecting someone to be able to hear them.

The doorbell and the call box will draw a clear line between those who need urgent help and those who simply want to check to see if a particular officer is available.

"We're just trying to minimize the interruptions to dispatch, but yet also provide access to dispatch so people can get some services in a hurry," Walker said.

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