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Sheriff Signs Contract With City Of Mitchell For Central Dispatch Center
Updated October 5, 2016 7:35 AM
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(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department has finalized plans to be a Central Dispatch Center for the county.

The commissioners finalized the contract between the Sheriff's Department and the City of Mitchell on Tuesday morning.

"[The] Mitchell Police Department will still have one dispatcher on station Monday through Friday during regular business hours to handle random calls or if someone comes on station with a complaint. But all calls will be dispatched thought the Sheriff's Department," Sheriff Mike Branham said during an earlier meeting. "This is best for the public's safety to take all the calls for Mitchell."

The City of Mitchell lost their funding for 911 when the state decided to create a central dispatch center for each county.

The Sheriff's Department will need to add one full-time dispatcher to handle the call load. The cost of that dispatcher will be $50,000 a year and will include the cost of benefits. The contract stipulates the City of Mitchell will pay for that employee.

"This way when a 911 call or any call comes into the department one dispatcher handles that caller until emergency crews arrive on the scene," says Sheriff Branham.

The City of Bedford will continue to handle all of their 911 calls.

In other business:

Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are finishing paving on Dillman Road, chipping and sealing and crews are also out mowing.

Crews will pave Oolitic Road and Stars Boulevard during fall break October 17-21.

Holmes reported bridge crews are almost completed with the replacement of Bridge 113. Crews will be pouring the deck on Friday.

The bridge over Spring Creek was closed after an accident in July knocked out a pier from under the bridge and caused other substantial damage. The bridge is located between Popcorn and Harrodsburg roads.

The cost to replace the bridge is $105,000. The work should be completed and the bridge should be open in two weeks weather permitting.


Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 131 inmates in the county jail. Of those 24 were females, 13 were Level D felons and there was one Department of Correction hold.


Rex Knight of Southern Indiana Development Commission held a public hearing before the Lawrence County Commissioners meeting Tuesday morning for a Clearance grant to demolish the old Huron School.

Brownfields have become a problem in many communities and the old Huron School has become an eyesore for that community. If awarded the grant, the funds would be used to demolish the building and restore the property to a green space.


The commissioners proclaimed the week of Oct. 9-15 as Fire Prevention Week.

This year's Fire Prevention Week campaign, "Don't Wait - Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years," represents the final year of a three-year effort to educate the public about basic but essential elements of smoke alarm safety.

Firefighters from several volunteer fire departments attended the commissioners meeting.


Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer says the safety committee meet and discussed the event of a gas leak at the Circle K and how the emergency was handled on Sept. 9.

A problem with fueling systems at a Circle K gas station at 1428 16th St. caused a gasoline leak. Bedford Fire Department firefighters discovered gas had leaked into the storm drains causing the odor in the area of 17th and K street, near the Bedford Middle School to downtown Bedford as well as Fairground Lane to 20th Street.

Working with Bedford City Utilities, firefighters and crews opened manhole covers and were able to trace the gas leak to Circle K. They were able to determine the leak was coming from the fueling systems at Circle K to the storm drains.

Circle K brought in a company to empty their tanks and soak up the liquids from the storm drains.

One concern the committee found was that when the courthouse is evacuated there was no good way to sound an all clear for employees and the public to return inside. They decided to use bull horns to alert those outside.

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