The Case for Catoosa’s 911 Dispatch Center

Recently, I participated in a hearing before the 911 Management Authority on behalf of the City of Catoosa. Police Chief Ronnie Benight and I spoke in support of the city’s application to build a 911 dispatch center in its new police/fire station. 

Catoosa submitted its application several months ago, but it was slowed by the Authority’s red tape. In fact, Catoosa’s application was slowed down so much it was in danger of not being approved by the statutory deadline of July 31.

This is a really big deal for our community. Catoosa, in 2022, bonded $20 million for the police/fire station, with $2.2 million of that specified for the 911 dispatch center. Catoosa was very much in peril of losing this application and having to build its dispatch center for nothing.

Population growth in Catoosa drove the need for the new police and fire department. Both have outgrown their facilities. The police station was originally built as a grocery store in the 1940s. One room serves as interview space, evidence processing and the break room. According to the police chief, officers and staff are literally stacked on top of one another. The space is showing it’s age as well, and it was not even handicap accessible.

The fire station, too, was in need of revamping. It is spread between two buildings and is inefficient for firefighters and staff. The departments also are located near train tracks and school zones, neither ideal to respond to emergencies.

With the new public safety complex nearing completion, it’s time for us to move forward with the 911 dispatch center. Currently, if residents call 911 after hours, the calls are rerouted to Tulsa. Having our own 24/7 dispatch center will keep the calls local and speed response times.

I was glad to be able to step in alongside Police Chief Benight and present the city’s case for having this application move forward. I look forward to the center being completed.

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