The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Emergency Communications Center to enhance safety on MSU campus

The Mississippi State University Police Department celebrated its new and improved 911 Emergency Communications Center with a ribbon cutting on Wednesday.

The center is located at 25 Walker Road in the Butler Williams Building.

At the ribbon cutting, MSU President Mark Keenum said the safety and well being of the university family is the college’s first priority.

“This is a wonderful addition to enhance safety and security in our campus family,” Keenum said. “This new equipment will make us more efficient and more effective, and it makes me very happy to see it.”

Police Chief Vance Rice said this project, from conception to completion, took two years. He said although there were delays in the process, such as having to switch computer alarm systems, he is happy it is completed.

The previous center was also in the Butler Williams Building, but upgrades in equipment and remodeling of some of the rooms were priorities for Rice.

“It was in this same building,” Rice said. “The small receptionist area where you first walk in was the dispatch. There was a great big piece of glass with a cutout hole where you could actually stick a gun through there. It wasn’t safe at all. One dispatcher worked there.”

After knocking down a wall to make more room and turning an empty office into the new dispatchers’ workplace, the center is now equipped with computers, consoles and a new computer alarm system, which is based on two servers where multiple dispatchers can work at the same time.

The equipment was also put in one location, so dispatchers do not have to walk between different machines.

To prevent the health hazards associated with sitting at a desk for a whole shift, Rice said he is working with the Longest Student Health Center to get a walking treadmill to put in front of the dispatchers’ workstations.

Dispatcher Hannah Griffin said she has worked at the police department since she was an undergraduate student at MSU. She graduated in 2015 with a degree in psychology.

Griffin said she is excited about the improved communications center but thinks it will take time for her to switch gears and get used to the new equipment.

“I kind of liked where we were,” Griffin said. “This is great, but I just kind of got attached to the way it was before. There are obviously things I’m going to have to figure out and adjust to, but I feel like we can do it because that’s part of being a dispatcher is working through a lot of issues.”

Some of Griffin’s responsibilities as a dispatcher include answering phones, gathering information, talking on the radio and keeping up with radio traffic.

She said technologically proficiency is also very necessary for the job. Griffin said the majority of the calls she gets involve traffic accidents and lost and found incidences.

If you have a non-emergency issue and need to contact the communications center, call or text 662-325-2121.

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Emergency Communications Center to enhance safety on MSU campus