KOSCIUSKO — Summer residents and visitors pour into Kosciusko County during the warm summer months to enjoy its many lakes and festivals and that often means the potential for more work for emergency responders.
The population in the county nearly doubles in the summertime, but fortunately, Kosciusko County’s communications center is one of the more technologically advanced centers in the country.
For several reasons, dispatchers in Kosciusko County saw a significant increase in calls for service in 2018.
Dispatchers fielded 101,233 calls and dispatched 91,526 of those to various agencies. That represents a 14.2 percent increase over the previous year, according to Sarah Lancaster, director of 911 operations.
Lancaster said there are several reasons for the increase. She points to the continued increase in population in the county and an aging population that is needing more calls for medical assistance.
The opioid crisis continues to add to their workload, she said.
Lancaster also attributes the hike to the department of Homeland Security’s “See something, say something” campaign to get more people involved when they see something that might be problematic.
Lancaster was promoted from assistant director to her current position in January after Sheriff Kyle Dukes took office.
Lancaster began her public safety career in 1999, when she joined the Syracuse Fire and EMS. She was offered the opportunity to work in the Syracuse Dispatch Center shortly thereafter. In 2005, Lancaster was hired by the Kosciusko County 911 Communications Center and began serving as the assistant director in 2011.
She said she’s made a series of small changes in the department, but none of those would be noticeable to the public.
The following is a list of the top ten agencies (or programs) that received calls for service from the Kosciusko County Central Dispatch Center in 2018.
Sheriff’s Office: 23,198
Warsaw Police: 21,731
Syracuse Police: 6,009
Winona Lake Police: 4,943
North Webster Police: 3,024
Milford Police: 2,445
Claypool Police: 2,101
Silver Lake Police: 1,988
Pierceton Police: 1,580
Animal Control: 966