Franklin County’s new dispatch center, outfitted with equipment that allows dispatchers to track the origin of cellphone calls, and which someday might provide a video link to the scene of an emergency, is in operation, two years after a close vote to spend $600,000 to build it.

The new communications center was approved by a margin only 27 votes out of more than 4,000 cast. Now the public is being invited to tour the high-tech facility.

Stan Wheeler, director of the communications center, said from 1 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, residents are invited to tour the Franklin County Regional Communications Center, which is next to the sheriff’s department on Fairbanks Road in Farmington.

Wheeler said he will be walking visitors through the center’s new layout so they can see what kind of equipment it takes to handle calls from first responders and residents of a county of about 30,000 residents sprinkled over more than 1,700 square miles.

“Most people don’t know how a (communications) center works. This will be a way to see,” Wheeler said.

He said the tour also will allow taxpayers to get an in-person view of how their tax money is being spent.

The new $600,000 dispatch center was the subject of lengthy debate before it was approved narrowly in 2012 by a 2,062-2,035 vote by county residents.

The new space also offers security improvements, such as higher, barred windows and thick walls.

The dispatch center, completed earlier this year, was part of a larger move to create a separate county communications department with its own budget and headquarters. The dispatcher supervisors previously had reported to the sheriff’s department, but now a communications director reports directly to the county commissioners.

Dispatchers were moved into a new building when the operation was transferred out of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, giving that department more room in the quarters that had been occupied by the old commuications center.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]

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