The Columbia County Dispatch Center is located at the Law Enforcement Center, 711 East Cook St, Portage Wisconsin. Fourteen dispatchers and one Sergeant staff the center and work a 4 / 2 rotation schedule, 24/7 with three dispatchers on the day and afternoon shifts and two on the midnight shift.
In addition to an enhanced 911 system, the dispatch center utilizes Ultra Tech TDD (Telephone Device for the Deaf) phones, which allows the dispatcher to communicate with hearing impaired persons. The TDD features are designed to help emergency service personnel respond as effectively as possible to calls from the hearing impaired public. If a 911 TDD call is received, the information not only alerts the dispatcher as to the address, phone number and Fire and EMS response, but it also allows the dispatcher to communicate with the caller by typing messages back and forth.
The TDD phone numbers for the Columbia County dispatch center are
608-742-4160 or 608-742-2743.
The dispatch center also uses Spillman CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) software. This dispatching software time-stamps and records all county calls for service plus Fire, EMS and municipal agency calls for service. When a call for service is requested, the dispatcher enters address, township, village or city, caller name and telephone number with the complaint type. Within seconds the address is GEO (geographically) validated. Now the dispatcher has the address, nature of the call, cross streets to the location given along with direction to that location. The mapping system generates a map of the location and surrounding area and shows the dispatch center the location of each squad car in the county on a 55 inch monitor. This allows the dispatcher to send the closest unit in an emergency.
Our computer software system logs and maintains several hundred thousand calls for service and each call for service is obtainable within seconds. The dispatcher can check previous calls at an address for any type of officer safety or medical alerts attached to the call as well as all previous history for the residence or business. When an E911 call is received, the information from the 911 screen automatically transfers to the CAD screen and the same information is generated. The CAD system also houses well over a couple thousand “landmarks” or businesses in the county that include alarm company and key holder information that are useful in the event of an open door, break in or alarm.
In 2019, the dispatch center took 91,530 calls for service, which include eight municipal agencies, 13 fire and 11 emergency medical services, plus the 911 calls for service. The E911 calls for service average approximately 1,300 a month and the calls for service average 4,700-6,000 a month.
Approximately 85% of the E911 calls received each month are received from cellular phones. Telephone companies are currently working on 911 text to talk. The future will bring us text to 911 and video to 911 centers. This is called Next Generation 911 (NG911). For more information on NG911, access Wisconsin Federal Communications Commission (FCC )website at: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/wisconsin-trs
If you accidentally call 911, please do not hang up when the dispatcher answers. Do stay on the line and explain that you accidentally dialed 911 by mistake. If you hang up, a dispatcher will call you back and, in most cases, a deputy will respond to ensure everything is okay.
When you call 911 on your cellular phone, don’t assume the 911 center answering your emergency call is the closest. Depending on which cellular tower your call hits, you may get a 911 dispatcher from another county. Announce your name and cellular phone number, nature of your emergency and the location of your emergency. The 911 dispatcher will verify this information with you and direct appropriate emergency personnel to your location. Be sure to answer all the questions asked by the dispatcher. Try to be as calm as possible and speak slowly and clearly. This will ensure the dispatcher has the correct information to relay to appropriate responding units. And, always remember that 911 is for emergencies.
Columbia County Dispatch Center (608) 742-4166 ext 1
Columbia County Jail 608-742-6476