Waukesha Co. Dispatch handling Milw. Co. 911 calls

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A weekend fire that shut down the Milwaukee County Courthouse and Public Safety Building also shut down the county's dispatch center, and an emergency plan was initiated to handle 911 calls.

Around noon on Saturday, July 6th, the Waukesha County Dispatch Center was told to handle 911 calls coming from Milwaukee County because that center was being abandoned.

With the Courthouse and Public Safety building remaining closed early this week, the Waukesha County Dispatch Center is continuing to handle these calls.

"We have a 328 percent increase in the number of 911 calls that we would normally get. We would normally get around seven calls an hour for 911. We currently getting approximately 30 911 calls an hour," Richard Tuma, Director of Emergency Preparedness for Waukesha County said.

Currently, the center is handling its normal calls from Waukesha County, and landline and wireless 911 calls that normally go to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.

To handle the extra load during the day, Waukesha County increased its staff by three, and Milwaukee County brought in two dispatchers.

Tuma says all of this adjusting isn't a big deal because Waukesha County is Milwaukee County's backup center, and vice versa.

"We practice that monthly to make sure all the equipment's working, so as soon as the calls started coming here and then we followed our (standard operating procedure) and we would transfer the 911 calls to the appropriate agency," Tuma said.

Tuma says sometimes, they would get on the Milwaukee County radio system and dispatch Sheriff's officials.

Tuma says Milwaukee County is working to get its facility back online, but until that happens, the Waukesha County Dispatch Center is making the connections.

"I think both the residents of Milwaukee County, Waukesa Counties need to be assured that calls are being processed in a timely manner," Tuma said.