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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Class visits communications center, jail

  • For the final evening on this year's Citizen's Police Academy, the class took a field trip.Their first stop was at the Ford County Communications Center in the basement of the Ford County Government Center where every 9-1-1 call made in the county is answered.The people in this office work behind the scenes and ha...
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  • For the final evening on this year's Citizen's Police Academy, the class took a field trip.
    Their first stop was at the Ford County Communications Center in the basement of the Ford County Government Center where every 9-1-1 call made in the county is answered.
    The people in this office work behind the scenes and have the responsibility to make sure every caller gives all of the information first responders need to get to the right location in a timely manner.
    In 2011, the communications center recorded 166,742 total calls for service. Of those calls, nearly 32,000 were dispatched to the Dodge City Police Department (DCPD). The Bucklin PD received 123 calls and the Spearville Police Department took a total of 291. Statistics show Ford County residents rely heavily on their cell phones in emergency situations; 80 percent of the calls were from wireless devices.
    From the Communications Center, the class ventured to the east side of Dodge City and the Ford County Detention Center. Inside the facility, the class encountered several visitors waiting for their 22 minute visitation with an inmate, All visitations are no contact and each visit is recorded by video and audio for security purposes.
    The tour included the control room or Master Control. Considered a fortress in itself within the facility, the Master Control Officer is responsible for monitoring the inside and outside of the detention center using audio and video surveillance.
    The next stage of the tour was the booking section, which many class members had the chance to experience during their ride-along sessions with officers from the DCPD. During the tour and a majority of the ride-alongs, the group was able to observe officers bringing in a subject under arrest and then being transferred into the facility.  
    In perhaps the most “behind the scenes” portion of the night, the class was taken into two pods within the detention center. Within each pod are housing units that hold up to 20 inmates per pod. Each unit has two main cells and two floors with ten cells per housing unit. Each floor has a shower and two video visitation stations. Inmates are allowed out of their cells during the day in a common area with benches, tables and a small TV.
    Throughout the facilities lifetime, more than 2500 inmates have been booked in to date. On Tuesday alone, approximately 393 inmate meals were prepared but the food service area is designed with the means to cook for 500 inmates if the facility were expanded in the future.
    Next week, the members of this year's Citizen's Police Academy will graduate from the program. During the ceremony, each participant will receive a graduation certificate and have the opportunity to join the Dodge City Citizens Police Auxiliary.
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