"The mission of the Harvey County 9-1-1 Communications Center is to provide prompt, effective and courteous service to the citizens and emergency services personnel of Harvey County and surrounding area. We achieve this goal by maintaining quality employees and State of the Art communications equipment for the Communications Center."

Communications CenterHarvey County Communications (9-1-1) began operations in January 1982 (merging Newton PD and Harvey County Sheriff Dispatch) in the basement of the Harvey County Courthouse, and moved to the current 2700 square foot center in 1997. Located at 120 East 7th in Newton, Kansas in the lower level of the Harvey County Law Enforcement Center, the Communications Center also includes the Emergency Management Office and Emergency Operations Center.

We dispatch for Burrton, Newton, Halstead, Hesston and Sedgwick Police, Fire and EMS; Walton Police and Fire, Whitewater Fire, Harvey County Sheriff, Emergency Management and Coroner and City and County Public Works. We also handle units from the Highway Patrol, Moundridge Fire & EMS and Buhler, Mt. Hope and Peabody Fire Departments, Community Corrections, Wildlife & Parks, FBI, KBI and US Marshals. We serve a population base of over 37,000 citizens in Harvey and parts of 5 surrounding counties.

The Kansas Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officialas (APCO) has recognized the efforts of Harvey County staff members by naming them Kansas Telecommunicator of the Year: Liz Sauerwein in 1999, Don Gruver in 2003, and Diana Dover in 2006. As a result of their professionalism and excellence in handling the Excel Active Shooter, Burrton wildifres and multiple homicides, the entire Harvey County Communications staff was recoginzed as the 2016 Kansas APCO Team of the Year.

Harvey County Communications is a busy center. We average nearly 100,000 telephone calls per year (41,000 are 9-1-1) which result in over 50,000 Police assignments and 6,000 Fire & EMS assignments per year. Our average time from first ring to page out for Fire/EMS is less than 60 seconds; most of the time a 2nd dispatcher is paging out responders while the first dispatcher is on the phone gathering information.

 The responsibilities of 9-1-1 Dispatchers include:

  • Promptly answering and processing calls on 10 emergency and 7 administrative lines.
  • Monitoring and answering over 20 different radio channels.
  • Using Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) system to offer immediate basic life support instructions by telephone until units arrive.
  • Coordinating Law Enforcement, EMS and Fire personnel on multiple agency responses.
  • Gathering information from the scene prior to unit arrival to assure the safety of those responding, and monitor their safety throughout the call.
  • Offering support, guidance and structure to emergency callers until units arrive and take physical control of the scene.
  • Monitor and activate weather-warning sirens in Harvey County, Whitewater and Elbing, striving to give citizens an opportunity to seek shelter.
  • Monitor, Dispatch, and collect fees for over 300 alarms connected directly into the Communications Center. In addition, process calls from outside alarm companies requesting Police, Fire or EMS dispatch.
  • Enter wanted, missing or endangered persons, stolen property and Protection From Abuse Orders into the National Crime Information Computer and maintain and update those entries as needed.
  • Process and disseminate Criminal History Record Checks for court and Law Enforcement personnel.
  • Sending the right units, at the right time, in the right way; to protect the lives and property of those we serve.

Several of our staff serve on the Emergency Response Team as Tactical Dispatchers, and also suuport Law, Fire and EMS Command Posts, taking their communications, documentation and resource gathering skills into the field to assist field commanders. Their focus while on scene is on just that incident, not the other calls and activity within the communications center. Our Tactical Communications Truck carries a full compliment of equipment to perform as a field command post as well as tie multiple radio channels across different frequency bands together into interoperable communications networks. 

The well being of the staff is a concern as well. Emergency Services work is very stressful at times, and built-up stress can take its toll on individuals. Therefore, Harvey County Communications Center is active in the Harvey County CISM Team. This is a peer-support group that provides education and post-crisis interventions for emergency services personnel. The proper mitigation and prevention of the effects of Critical Incident Stress are important for the health and preservation of experienced, trained staff.