Marathon County Sheriff’s Office undergoes renovations

Published: Jul. 2, 2020 at 5:34 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Marathon County Sheriff’s Office underwent renovations over the past two years to not only improve the workplace for its workers, but to take a step towards the future of public safety.

"Obviously there's always some struggles with change, but things are going well," Marathon County Sheriff's Department Communications Captain Bill Millhausen said.

After constant 24 hour use seven days a week for the past 15 years, Millhausen said the Marathon County Sheriff's Department was ready for some new changes in their office.

“We totally removed all of our old dispatch consoles and furniture, flooring, everything,” Millhausen said. “[We] replaced all that with what we would deem the latest and greatest if you will.”

With the improvements to the dispatch center, the Sheriff's Office is now able to have 12 dispatchers instead of eight, along with the capability to open up another radio channel for a faster response time.

They also now have the capability to dispatch over the radio to all 80 entities they dispatch to in Marathon County.

"It allows us to be better staff and take those calls for service a lot quicker than we may have been able to in the past," Millhausen said.

The Sheriff’s department also made vast technological changes to a new 9-1-1 platform which will enable the public to send photos, videos, and messages to 9-1-1 starting later in 2020.

The reason for the change is because the society’s advancement in technology has changed to the point where it is important for law enforcement to go that direction as well to accommodate to everyone.

“The industry wants [people] to be able to, access 9-1-1 by any means that you can on a smart phone,” he said.

Marathon county is notorious for having spots where cell phone reception is weak which makes it difficult to make a regular phone call to 9-1-1 in an emergency.

In effect, if you have a weak cell phone signal or don't have a land line, you will soon be able to just connect to the internet to make a call or send a message to 9-1-1 in an emergency.

“I just see that there’s going to be a learning curve on everybody’s end, the public as to how to use this and our [end] as to how to best suit us in emergency situations,” Millhausen said.

This technology upgrade will also allow the public to text in photos and videos of things such as crashed cars to give a visual to the department.

In all, the improvements to the dispatch center, the migration to next generation 9-1-1 service, and all of the new furniture costed about $1.5 million to finish.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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