Emergency dispatchers in Sarpy County would no longer enter warrant information under a proposal included in the county's 2014 budget.
Instead, the Sarpy County Sheriff's Office would take over warrant entry, hiring a new full-time employee at a cost of about $39,000, plus $2,300 for software and a new data terminal.
Having dispatchers enter warrant data is a holdover from the days when the Sheriff's Office ran the 911 center.
But as the number of warrants has grown, entering them has become a distraction for dispatchers who should be focused on the growing number of emergency calls they dispatch each year, County Administrator Mark Wayne said.
“You can imagine — there are a lot of people with the same name,” he said. “If (dispatchers) screw up and they arrest the wrong person, there's a ton of liability there.”
In 2012, judges in Sarpy County district and county courtrooms issued 3,675 warrants, according to the court clerks.
The new employee would enter data full time and verify warrants during normal business hours, Chief Deputy Mike Jones said. After hours, dispatchers would verify warrants.
Shifting the burden of entering those warrants is the latest effort to improve performance at the 911 call center.
“This was just one of those loud things right out in front that makes sense. ... Warrant entry is just one more thing that fights for their time,” Sarpy County Board Chairman Jim Warren said.
A World-Herald analysis in May found that Sarpy dispatchers were taking longer than recommended national standards to dispatch fire and medical calls.
A consultant hired to review operations at the 911 center started this week, and director Larry Lavelle no longer does double duty as emergency manager.
The consultant's report is due in November. Complicating matters somewhat is a broader study into consolidating dispatching duties with Douglas County.
“But we'll still be in operation for a few more years, even if consolidation happens,” Wayne said.