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Police encourage use of proper phone lines

By STEVEN CALHOUN/Staff Writer

The Clanton Police Department has made changes to its phone system to make it more convenient for the public.

“We don’t want people to call and need the police and be calling the wrong number,” Captain Neil Fetner said.

For emergencies, always call 911. If you need police but it is not an emergency, call the non-emergency dispatch line at 205-755-1120.

“If you need the police, call communications,” Fetner said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s life and death or ‘I just need the cops to come out here because I’ve locked myself out of my car,’ if you go directly to [dispatch] it’s going to speed up our response time.”

The updates made to the separate administrative line at the CPD are intended to catch calls that were more appropriate for a dispatch number. The improved phone system ensures that even if nobody can answer, someone will get the message. When a citizen leaves a voice message, it is recorded and sent immediately via email to the appropriate group.

“Whether they get through in person or if they get through via voicemail, we’re getting those messages,” Fetner said.

The new system spreads information more quickly to the appropriate personnel on duty. For example, officers in the field could receive an incoming message after office hours, possibly improving response times if a call was mistakenly dialed into the police station instead of dispatch.

“For cost effectiveness, it’s certainly much better to go with an automated system. Somewhere down the road that may change and we may be able to get somebody in here to take all the calls,” Chief Keith Maddox said.

Requests for accident reports, security checks and other administrative needs can be filed online or by phone. The online system at clantonpd.org allows the CPD to deliver files electronically. Sometimes there is a charge for the option of electronic delivery.

According to Fetner, the online system is intended to be more convenient. However, the option to call 205-755-1194 or come to the CPD for files is still available for those who prefer it. Every officer now has a phone extension listed on the CPD’s website. Messages left for the officers also use the new automated email system.