BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KFTA) — On Tuesday (January 21), the Bentonville Police Department held a grand opening for its new emergency response facility.
The dispatch center is a home away from home for employees and it recently got a $10 million facelift.
“Any tornado incident or weather incident our dispatchers don’t have to worry about evacuating,” said telecommunications manager of the center, Ronya Marveggio. “They have the equipment and tools they need to do their job.”
At the old facility, employees would have to evacuate into an empty detention center.
“It was small, the echo was huge, and we only had two phones back there,” Marveggio said. “I’m not going to say that our community waited for phone calls to be answered, but sometimes you would have to wait for a phone call.”
The new building is safer and larger with over 7,000 square feet, which includes an emergency operations center and meeting space.
“The recent industrial fire we had, I was able to 100% concentrate on my fire department and my paramedics working that fire while everyone else that got called in to dispatch was able to handle all the calls,” said dispatcher, Janet Brown. “We didn’t miss any calls. No one suffered because of lack of workspace or employees.”
The facility is also more comfortable.
“The heating and cooling is great,” Brown said. “If you’ve ever worked with people in a confined space, the temperature in the room is always a source of contention. People are either too hot or too cold.”
Now each console can heat and cool to the dispatchers liking.
“I think it makes us more productive. It kind of boosts morale. It makes us work better together.”