The Columbus Police Department has added 225 square feet in the 911 Center and nine more employees to handle 100 more police officers on streets.
In the basement of the Public Safety Center, Police Chief Ricky Boren on Thursday showed off the new section that was required after voters approved a 1 percent Local Option Sales Tax in 2008. The department has hired 86 of the new officers and expanded beats from 26 to 36 to cover 220 square miles. “The 911 center is that invisible part of expansion we had to take care of,” said Police Maj. Stan Swiney, head of Support Services. The expanded center and staff will help call takers and dispatchers get information to officers quicker. Before tax was approved, residents complained about the slow response time for emergency calls. The center now has two new consoles and a special operations desk to handle storms, parades and other events. “It gives them a little more breathing room,” Boren said. “They don’t have the calls backlogged. That’s what you see here today.”
The renovation, completed by Batson-Cook and Alexander Electric, cost the city just $911 although other bids came in at about $15,000. “We just felt like we wanted to give something back to the community,” said Chunk Newman, construction manager for Batson-Cook.