The Communication Center receives emergency and non-emergency calls from the public. They receive anywhere from 50-150 calls a day. Dispatchers are responsible for dispatching the proper law enforcement or emergency agency. The dispatchers are in constant contact with the deputies and are the center of communication for the office.
The Communication Center also dispatches for 17 Volunteer Fire Departments, 2 Police Departments, Adult Probation and Parole, Marietta Municipal Court Probation, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
ENHANCED 9-1-1 EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM
Washington County’s 63,000 residents are served by a state-of-the-art Enhanced 9-1-1 system. Calls to 9-1-1 from landline telephones are automatically routed to the Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) serving that particular address. Three PSAPs cover Washington County: Belpre Police, Marietta Police, and Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office dispatches most of the county’s volunteer fire departments and emergency medical squads, as well as Village Police, Ohio Division of Wildlife officers and other services.
The Enhanced 9-1-1 system is funded by a voter-approved 50-cent per month telephone surcharge. These funds may be used only for purchase and maintenance of 9-1-1 equipment and software. By state law, telephone service providers are allowed to charge fees of 12 to 25 cents per month to recover their 9-1-1 operational expenses.
Washington County provides Wireless E9-1-1 service, making it possible to locate 9-1-1 callers who are calling from a cell phone. When you call 9-1-1 from a GPS-equipped cell phone, your location is shown on the county 9-1-1 mapping system, allowing for accurate dispatching of emergency responders to your location. (One wireless service provider, AT&T, utilizes signal triangulation technology instead of GPS. Triangulation is less accurate in rural locations.)
IMPORTANT: a cell phone call to 9-1-1 may route to a different city or county than where you are located. These devices we know as cell phones are actually two-way radios. No technology exists to send your cell phone’s signal anywhere but to the nearest tower. For example, if you call 911 on a cell phone in Washington County, Ohio, the signal may hit a tower in Wood County, West Virginia, or vice versa. If this happens to you, stay on the phone! Describe your location to dispatchers to assist them in getting help to you.
Wireless E9-1-1 service is funded by Ohio’s 28-cent per month cell phone fee – one of the lowest such fees in the USA.
VOICE OVER INTERNET (VOIP) 9-1-1
VOIP is a rapidly emerging technology employing cable TV lines for telephone service. Washington County’s primary cable operators, Suddenlink and TimeWarner, work closely with 9-1-1 to provide accurate customer locations. However, if you sign up online with an independent VOIP service such as Vonage, Skype or Magic Jack, it is your responsibility to make sure your physical address is accurate and updated at your service provider’s website. The routing of VOIP 9-1-1 calls from independent VOIP services has not yet reached the high accuracy rate of traditional home phone service.
NEVER HANG UP ON A 9-1-1 CALL UNTIL TOLD TO DO SO BY THE DISPATCHER.
For more information, contact Lt. Hays (9-1-1 Coordinator).
Crisis Negotiation Team
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has a Crisis Negotiation Team trained to deal with hostage and crisis situations. This includes people threatening to commit suicide, and/or distraught individuals threatening to kill or harm another person.
The team members study different crisis scenario situations, psychological profiling, interpersonal skills, and communication techniques to assist them during their negotiations.
The goal is always to resolve these situations without using violence or force. During the last seven years, the team has responded to several such situations and all have been resolved peacefully.
One team member makes the initial contact with the person in crisis and continues to negotiate with him or her while the other team members gather background information on the person for use by the negotiator.
The Detective Bureau is available to respond to any type of felony crime committed in Washington County.
The Detective Bureau consists of seven trained detectives. Each Detective carries a full caseload of investigative work and each is trained to serve on the Crime Scene Unit.
The Detectives have a combined knowledge of approximately 90 years of investigative experience. Each Detective has received numerous hours of crime scene and forensic training.
The Detective Bureau has worked over 500 crime scenes, and over 1000 hours on crime scene investigations.
The Detective Bureau is unique in that each Detective has brought to the unit a vast array of experience to include interviews and interrogations, interviews of children, hostage negotiations, forensics, photography, and computer forensics.
Deputy Sheriffs on road patrol perform an innumerable amount of tasks, responding to calls at all hours of the day and night and all times of year. Once a call for service is received, Deputies assigned to the road patrol division are the first contact citizens have with the Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies are responsible for a wide variety of duties which enable them to provide the best possible service for the citizens of Washington County. As first responders, Deputies deal with situations as dangerous and stressful as an armed robbery or as common as a property dispute between neighbors.
Other responsibilities for Deputies include conducting criminal investigations, serving warrants and subpoenas, routine checks on the security of businesses and residences, extra patrols in known problem areas and establishing a positive rapport with the residents.
Whenever called upon, road patrol Deputies strive to respond quickly, professionally, and intend on meeting or exceeding the public’s expectations.
Special Response Team
The Special Response Team (SRT) is used when a set of circumstances arises, the end of which could ultimately result in the injury of or the death of civilians or officers.
The SRT is a highly trained, highly mobile, well-equipped team of Deputy Sheriffs employed in situations which require specialized skills, equipment, and training.
The Sheriff must personally approve the use of the SRT. Members of the SRT train in every position within their squad undergoing regular and strenuous training. SRT members recognize the fact that lives are on the line every time they are called out. These Deputies assume this huge responsibility and it is a task the team takes very seriously.
The key to an effective Special Response Team is the unity of its members and teamwork applied toward a common goal. Their goal is to always resolve a situation without injury to themselves, the public, or the suspects.
SRT Missions include:
Service of high risk warrants
VIP/Dignitary or high profile prisoner protection details
Armed suicidal subjects
Officer and citizen rescue
“In the realm of high risk operations, no one stands alone, for it is the team which increases the probability of success in imminent danger. Though the team is the sum of its individual parts, individual acts of valor are wasted through uncoordinated execution.”
The Dog Warden’s responsibilities include picking up stray dogs, ensuring all dogs in the county are licensed, and enforcing the laws that govern these responsibilities. The Dog Warden is also to investigate livestock kills by coyotes and processing these claims accordingly.
All other services are courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office including picking up owned dogs, investigating complaints between neighbors over dogs, and cruelty/neglect complaints.
Effective January 1, 2013, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) established a Reserve Officer Unit under the supervision of a Reserve Officer Commander to be appointed by the Sheriff. The Reserve Officer Unit is a voluntary non-compensated position and serves at the pleasure of the Sheriff. All Reserve Officers must complete an application and pass a background investigation. The Reserve Officer Unit is divided into three levels as follows:
Level I Reserve (Class 1 Special Deputy)
A Level I Reserve Deputy is available to work in virtually all aspects of the office and may participate in law enforcement assignments such as patrol, community relations, and investigations. They are permitted to work alone after being certified by the Sheriff. Level I Reserve Deputies have peace officer status while on or off duty for the duration of their commission with the WCSO.
Level II Reserve
Individuals not OPOTA certified are considered Level II Reserve Deputies and are required to work under the immediate supervision of a Full Time Deputy or an OPOTA Certified Reserve Officer. This OPOTA Certified Officer must have completed the WCSO Field Training Officer Course for Reserve Officers. Level II Reserve Officers are not permitted to carry a weapon on duty even if they possess a valid CCW permit.