Ben Hill Co. Sheriff takes over E-911 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ben Hill Co. Sheriff takes over E-911

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By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) –For seven years, one person at the Ben Hill Counties Sheriff's office has had an overload of responsibilities.

Not only have they been responsible for operating the jail but they've also been responsible for controlling GCIC, a crime database that provides background information for officers.

But all of that is about to change, because the Sheriff's office recently took over the 911 center, which means that GCIC system will be moved over to a much more accessible and efficient area.

Lieutenant Vicky Bergquise rarely gets a chance to sit down at work,"You don't sit down, that chair is useless," she said.

Not only is she in charge of operating the jail, "I'm responsible for watching the monitors, turning on the lights opening the cells helping with anything the jailers need," she said.

But she is also in charge of getting information to officers out on the road by using the Georgia Crime Information Center. "I run tags, background histories, criminal checks for the detective," she said.

The system is located in the control room of the jail, so even though she has numerous jailer duties helping out officers on the road is her number one priority.

That's because out on the road, officers have no idea who they are pulling over until she gathers the information from the database and relays it to them."The deputies are out on the road, and they do not know who they are stopping it could be someone wanted for murder," she said.

Officers make two phone calls when they make a stop they call 911 then they call the control room to get that vital information before they approach the vehicle."If they tell you to hold on, that's just time wasted and every second is valuable when you are out on the streets," said Investigator Patrick Hogan.

But that's about to change. Sheriff Bobby McLemore has taken over the 911 center which means GCIC will be moved over to the 911 center. "I think this is going to be a plus for all citizens of Ben Hill county, they will see an improvement of how 911 is run," he said.

Not only will it help officers out on the road get information quicker, "Before we ever get out of the car, we can have an idea of who we have stopped," said Hogan.

But it will also allow those in the control room to focus only on the jail, "With that gone, a lot more officers are going to be able to come up here and work," said Vicky.

That's because you must be GCIC certified to be in the same room as the database.

They don't plan on hiring any additional personal for this switch because they will just cross train their current 911 operators to be GCIC certified.

Once everyone is GCIC certified, the Sheriff says he plans to move GCIC over to the E-911 center, which should be in the next couple weeks.

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