Emergency Call Changes

By: Jenna Emenhiser Email
By: Jenna Emenhiser Email

Changes have been made in Perry County concerning who responds to emergency calls.

The Perry County Sheriff's Department will no longer respond to 9-1-1 calls.

Changes took place on January first, and now when you dial 9-1-1 from Perry County, the Kentucky State Police will serve as the first responders.

Some dispatchers say this change could affect how quickly emergency officials are able to respond.

"The majority of people in the county, when something happens they call 9-1-1. They're not going to call State Police directly. It's wasting time, I mean it's time consuming," Danny Miller said.

Miller has worked as an emergency dispatcher for the past 6 years and he says in some situations this added time could be a matter of life and death.

"If you call 9-1-1 for help, someones shooting at you, you don't want to be put on hold and transferred to another agency, wasting three or four minutes while they get there," Miller said.

Newly elected sheriff Les Burgett says transferring emergency calls to State Police is his only option because his department does not have the funds to serve as first responders and serve the county adequately.

"I think it would be very selfish of my part to try to hold onto first responder when I have six deputies and KSP can put 14 troopers out there," Sheriff Burgett said.

Burgett says his department needs about $300 thousand to be able to adequately respond to 9-1-1 calls, but Judge Executive Denny Ray Noble says the county's budget runs from July to July, while the Sheriff's budget runs from January to January, and for the county's budget this year there just isn't enough money to foot the bill.

"If we give them anymore we would have to maybe raise people's property taxes and I always told people I wouldn't do that," Judge Noble said.

Judge Noble says he and Sheriff Burgett are working together to find a solution.

He says next week they plan to go to Frankfort to ask for state assistance.

In the meantime Kentucky State Police will continue to serve as first responders.


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