Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Arnold named new Ralls County 911 director

  • Michael Arnold of Lake Ozark is the new director of Ralls County 911 Emergency Services.
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  • Michael Arnold of Lake Ozark is the new director of Ralls County 911 Emergency Services.
    Arnold was introduced by Board Chairman Bill Bowman during a special board meeting on Monday, June 2, at the Ralls County 911 Call Center in New London. His duties will begin June 16.
    The board then voted to renew its monthly dispatching services contract by the Marion County 911 agency for June.
    Marion County 911 has been providing dispatching for Ralls County since the Ralls County Call Center was closed in July 2013, with the resignation of its director and all its employees being laid off.
    Asked how soon the Ralls County board expects to resume operation of its call center, Bowman said Arnold “will do it as quickly as humanly possible.”
    However, Bowman added, it is more important to open the call center correctly than quickly.
    Arnold discussed why he accepted the position. “Your center has been closed for awhile, and the residents voted to re-open it. That’s the kind of community I wanted.”
    He had been employed by the Lake Ozark 911 agency for nine years, serving as director for the past eight years.
    Arnold said at Lake Ozark he had, “taken the 911 center from the same condition (as the Ralls County center), and it’s going to take a lot of work.
    “We will be working with the 911 board and will ask the sheriff to work with us, and all the municipalities,” he continued.
    “We only have one chance to operate this the right way.”
    At Lake Ozark, Arnold said, the call center had 19,999 911 calls a year. He compared that county with Ralls County, being a rural area and that changes in summer with the arrival of many tourists.
    During the meeting Bowman explained the lengthy process involved in selecting Arnold. It began with nationwide advertising, he said, which brought 35 applications. After eight applicants from this group were interviewed, “we still did not have the right candidate,” he said.
    Next, the board requested the help of the Missouri 911 Association, and after 30 interviews were conducted, two candidates were presented to the board.
    “We felt Mr. Arnold was the best choice,” Bowman said.
    After the meeting, Lowell Jackson, who serves as board treasurer, said “we were tickled to death we found this person. He’d done a terrific job.”
    Jackson explained that financial trouble caused the call center to close in 2013, when it relied mainly on part-time employees.
    Ralls County voters approved a tax issue in November 2013, doubling the one-half cent sales tax for operation of the 911 center to a one cent sales tax.
    Despite this vote of confidence with the increase in tax revenue, the board still cannot do much financial planning until it sees how much sales tax will be received, Jackson added.
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