Union County voters to decide 911 communication center's future - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Union County voters to decide 911 communication center's future

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Union County's 911 communications center is facing an emergency situation of its own.

It's on the verge of closing unless voters decide to keep it open.

KSFY News visited Union County to find out what that means for anyone who needs to make an emergency call.

A call to 911 may be a life saver in an emergency but here in Union County, that call might be directed somewhere else unless voters approve to keep the county's call center.

Union County's 911 communication center covers a lot of territory.

Union County communication 911 director Judy Oberg said "we have 47 miles of interstate. We border two other states. We have two intersecting rivers, and we're a busy, busy community. I don't think people realize just how busy it can get in here." 

If this center were to close and plug into another county's system, there are some things other dispatchers might not be able to find on a map.

"Local dispatchers know a lot of people call in with nicknames such as the grasshopper cross, the four corners. We know that where a neighboring county wouldn't know that. The dispatchers who work here, live here. They know people who call in. Most of the people who call in, they know," Oberg said.

Knowledge that could help 911 operators save time and save lives.

"Every minute counts in public safety and how fast you get somebody there, somebody not breathing, somebody having a heart attack, of course, it's good to keep it local," Oberg said.

Whether Union County's 911 call center stays open is in the hands of voters on Tuesday, June 3rd.

 A "yes" vote means voters support keeping the 911 communications center local.

A "no" vote means the call center would close.  The county then would have to pay to outsource its emergency calls to another county.
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