Since the early 1980’s, the Cass County Communications Center has been providing fast and effective access to emergency and non-emergency services to the citizens of Cass County. The 7 fulltime employees handle calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, dispatching assistance to Cass County’s nearly 14,000 citizens, and to visitor’s and passers-by. As you might have guessed, there is usually only one dispatcher on duty at any given time although we are working on having two duty during high call time hours.
On Monday, May 24, 1999 at 8:00am, Cass County Communications Center began receiving 9-1-1 calls not only countywide, but also in enhanced format which provides name, address, and telephone number on a screen in the communications center.
Today, the Cass County Communications answers landline 9-1-1 calls for all of Cass County and the southeastern portion of Pottawattamie County that is served by the Griswold Telephone Company. The center staff also answer all wireless (cellular and PCS) 9-1-1 calls that originate in Cass County, plus some areas outside of the county. The center staff prescreen the call, then either dispatch the appropriate responses or transfer the call as needed to adjoining counties or the Iowa State Patrol.
The dispatchers of the Cass County Communications Center receive the equivalent of 6 months of training prior to being allowed to work a shift on their own. This training includes 5 1⁄2 months of on- the-job training with the lead dispatcher, 40 hours of training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, plus 24 hours of training at the Iowa Department of Public Safety where they receive certification to use the Iowa Online Warrants and Articles (IOWA) System.
The IOWA System provides access to a wide variety of information to police departments, sheriff’s offices, and other city, county, state and federal criminal justice agencies throughout Iowa. Such data includes wanted/missing persons, stolen vehicles and articles, protective orders, sex offenders, homeland security information, Amber Alerts, motor vehicle registration files, driver licenses, and criminal history. The network also provides a gateway to other states, the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), NLETS and 186 other countries through Interpol.
The Cass County Communications Center is managed by the Director of E9-1-1 Services who also serves as Terminal Agency Coordinator for the IOWA System. The director reports directly to the Cass County Public Safety Commission, which has policy and budgetary authority over the center.
The Cass County Public Safety Commission is comprised of 4 persons who are duly elected officials in the jurisdictions they represent. Two persons represent Cass County and two persons represent the City of Atlantic. The cities of Anita and Griswold did have representation on the Commission, but they chose to leave the Commission in 2014.
The Commission is organized under Chapter 28E of the Iowa Code and the 28E agreement and Bylaws for the Commission can be found in the Downloadable Forms Section. The Commission meets on the fourth Monday of the month at 5:00pm in the meeting room of the Cass County 911 Center at 705 Poplar. The meeting is open to the public.