By Jan Rahn
Citizens calling the administrative lines at the Perkins County Sheriff’s Office will now be greeted by an “automated call attendant”—however, all 911 emergency calls made will still be answered immediately by the on-duty dispatcher, according to Sheriff Jim Brueggeman.
Brueggeman said the “automated attendant” is part of an upgraded phone system, which is replacing obsolete equipment.
The attendant will also create a more efficient and customer friendly office, he said.
Anyone who has an emergency and needs immediate assistance should call 911. If an emergency call is made to the administrative office line, the caller will be prompted to hang up and dial 911, or to press 0, which will get them directly to a dispatcher, Brueggeman said.
“It is important that those with an immediate emergency dial 911 because the system will provide the dispatcher with more information about the call that will assist in sending the correct help,” said Brueggeman.
For regular calls, the party will be given several options that will take them to a dispatcher, deputy, secretary, or another department, depending on their specific need, explained Brueggeman.
“This system will be helpful in freeing up the dispatcher’s time to deal with emergency and non-emergency service calls by directing administrative calls to the correct department instead of being filtered first through dispatch,” Brueggeman said.
Another feature of the system will allow callers to directly connect to the person they want to talk to if they know the four-digit extension number for that person. They will also be provided the option of leaving a voice mail message.
The new system will allow all Perkins County Sheriff’s Office employees to call in remotely to check their voice mail, and to receive notification of voice mail messages through their email accounts, Brueggeman said.
“This will allow us to receive messages quicker, and, if necessary, deal with issues in a more immediate fashion,” he said.
The system will cost the office around $10,000. Of this, 58 percent will be funded through wireless 911 grant funds through the Nebraska Public Service Commission, and 42 percent through the local 911 line surcharge, said Brueggeman.
Those who have questions about the system are encouraged to call Sheriff Brueggeman between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at 308-352-4564.