Question Answered: What's the status of Ripon's dispatch transfer?

This photo displays one of Fond du Lac County’s multiple dispatch stations appears in the Communications and Emergency Management department’s 2018 annual report. Effective June 1, all of Ripon’s 911 calls are getting handled by Fond du Lac County.

Question:

What’s the status of Ripon’s dispatch transfer?

Answer:

After nine months of intensive work, the transfer of all Emergency Communications Services between the city of Ripon and Fond du Lac County Communications Center happened Tuesday.

“The transition has been made — fire, EMS and police,” City Administrator Adam Sonntag said. “We had a department head meeting [Wednesday], and all of them indicated that — short of a couple of hiccups, but nothing major — the transition went really smoothly.”

Members of the Ripon Police Department, Ripon Guardian Ambulance Service, Ripon Area Fire District (RAFD) and Fond du Lac County Communications have been working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth transition over the last nine months.

“The transition went smoothly as we hoped, and as adjustments and minor issues arose this team was able to handle those issues,” Police Chief Bill Wallner, EMS Chief Mitch Matuszeski and RAFD Chief Tim Saul said in a press release. “Hours of preplanning, preparation, problem solving, and cooperation by all the departments and their members was key in making this transition possible, with limited issues arising after the transition was completed.”

As with any major project, officials say there were speed bumps along the way as the dispatch transfer impacted on how police, fire and EMS conduct business and involved multiple emergency response organizations, each with specific requirements for service.

“Fortunately, each department was able to address their needs and work together to develop a plan for moving emergency response forward in the city of Ripon,” Wallner, Matuszeski and Saul said.

One of the major projects after the transition was radio and pager programming. Due to radio frequency changes, the programming could only be completed after the transition to a new frequency had been made by EMS and fire, officials said.

Similarly, police department phone line transfers also occurred Tuesday.

“Work will continue in this area as upgrades for equipment and phone lines are replaced in the coming weeks,” Wallner, Saul and Matuszeski said. “All incoming phone calls to the Ripon Police Department will now be answered by Fond du Lac communications officers, who will make the appropriate decision on what services are needed and how that call is handled or dispatched.”

Officials say citizens can still use the 748-2888 line for non-emergency police calls and 911 for any landline or cell phone calls in an emergency situation.

What this means for you:

All three emergency responder chiefs hope the public will not see any changes in how they access emergency responders in an emergency situation.

“First and foremost, our responsibilities as chiefs, is that emergency response is not compromised in any way,” Saul, Matuszeski and Wallner said. “Our ability to provide emergency services remains solid.”

The chiefs added that the transition will provide an opportunity for internal changes, which may enhance delivery of services.

Those internal changes aim to make emergency departments more efficient, provide technology and response options that may not have been available in the past, and allow the coordination between other county emergency response organizations that have long been involved with Fond du Lac County Communications, officials said.

They added that the most difficult part of this transition was losing “very dedicated communications officers for the city of Ripon.”

“Those communications officers remained very professional and continued to deliver quality service to the community and the three departments right up until the last day, last hour and last minutes of our services here,” Wallner, Saul and Matuszeski said. “All three of the emergency department chiefs, and their department members, want to once again acknowledge all the communications officers that have ever worked in a very difficult, demanding and rewarding position, serving the citizens of our community for all the work they have ever done.

“They have always provided great service to all emergency responders as they do the work they do.”

How to submit: If you have a question, we want to give you an answer. Send a question, name and contact information to:

Mail: 303 Watson St., Ripon WI 54971, P.O. Box 262, Ripon WI 54971

Email: news@riponpress.com.

Written By

Joe Schulz served as the reporter of the Green Laker in 2019 and 2020, before being hired as a reporter for the Commonwealth in October 2020. He is from Oshkosh and graduated from UW-Oshkosh in December with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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