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Faster response times and expanded service are the goal of a change in emergency communications on campus and in Pike County.

Students, faculty and staff were advised on April 13 that non-emergency calls to Troy University Police Department would be answered by Pike County 911 Center. Calls will then be transferred to the University Police Department, or an officer will be dispatched for the caller.

“Since October, we’ve had phones running after hours,” Chief George Beaudry said. “The rolling system just took too long. The phone must have rung several times in the office before rolling. Now it’s transparent and the 911 Center will send whoever is needed.

Beaudry said the move to the consolidated dispatch center ends that delay.

Troy University Police Chief George Beaudry, left, and David Morgan, director of the Pike County 911 center, say integrating communications is a win-win situation for everyone. (Photo TROY/Clif Lusk)

“It increases our response times and people using the non-emergency number who really need 911 get a faster response from the most appropriate agency,” he said.

It’s part of a countywide consolidation of 911 calls, in which all local agencies, including fire and EMS services, are centrally dispatched.

“Consolidating all emergency communications just makes sense, both operationally and financially,” said David Morgan, executive director of the Pike County 911 Center.

“We have faster response times and we can pool county resources to better serve everyone,” he said.

Morgan said that because the center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, emergency and non-emergency calls can be handled by one of three communicators on duty each shift. Administrative calls can be forwarded to each agency as appropriate, which means a call to TUPD regarding a sticker is handled as quickly as a call to 911.

“People can call us and tell us what’s going on and let us decide which resource to send,” he said, noting that many calls to the TUPD non-emergency line would be appropriate as 911 calls.

These types of calls, Beaudry said, were where the new system really shone, reducing delays in getting firefighters, police or EMS to people who needed service.

“Consolidation makes everyone safer. That’s all there is to it,” he said.