Story by Mari-Alice Jasper, News Editor
In a joint effort between Murray State and the surrounding community, the first accreditation award given to a 911-communication center in western Kentucky was bestowed upon Murray State’s Public Safety and Emergency Management dispatch center June 10. This award recognizes accomplishments made by University police department employees and enhances Murray State’s strategic plan efforts to engage in community partnership.
For a dispatch center to earn the accreditation award the center must have a backup generator in place so the center is able to take calls 24/7 regardless of a weather emergency, among other requirements.
Assistant Chief Jeff Gentry said he heard about the accreditation for dispatch centers while attending the Police Chief Conference last year.
“I’m always looking for ways to improve our service to the campus and make our community safer,” he said. “Being the first in this part of the state to pursue the accreditation award would be a way of meeting the same standards of all law enforcement agencies across the state.”
Gentry said he started the accreditation process immediately after returning from the conference by filling out the application provided by the Kentucky Association Chiefs of Police (KACP).
In January 2015 the accreditation manager from KACP visited the University and brought with him a full listing of the requirements that have to be met to be considered accredited.
For the next five months, dispatcher staff at Murray State reviewed their process for taking incoming 911 calls by combing through their archives and comparing their calls to the regulations in the manual. Representatives from the accreditation office visited the University regularly and observed the staff as they handled calls and reviewed records and procedures.
After all of the memorandums were acquired and the requirements were addressed, the dispatch center submitted their accreditation request to the KACP executive board for final approval.
The accreditation awarded to the dispatch center is valid for four years, at which time another application process must begin.
Gentry said he was honored to be part of a group of dispatchers who were willing to put forth the extra time and effort it took to ensure the review went above and beyond the KACP standards.