Sheriff’s office open to complaints

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The sheriff wants to make sure Dallas County residents know his door is open anytime they have complaints.

“That’s the way it’s supposed to be,” Sheriff Harris Huffman said.

Responding to allegations that dispatchers have not responded appropriately in dealing with noise complaints, Huffman said complaints about dispatchers should be brought directly to his office.

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Selma resident and anti-noise activist Thounga Craig addressed a letter to the Selma City Council Monday, where he criticized the 911 dispatchers.

“They won’t send nobody,” Craig said after the meeting. “That’s not right. They’re just tired of dealing with it.”

Interim Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin said he was researching ways to deal with noise violators, but the dispatchers weren’t his responsibility.

“They are not employed by the city of Selma,” he said.

Huffman, a member of the E-911 Board along with the SPD chief, said he would be more than happy to deal with any complaints, once he knows about them.

Huffman’s department is responsible for hiring and disciplining dispatchers.

“My biggest thing is if people have a complaint about dispatch let me know,” he said.

Huffman also said that all the calls to dispatch are recorded, along with the radio calls.

If anybody issues a complaint and provides the name and time of the 911 call, Huffman said his office can pull up a recording and investigate it.

“If they will call (the sheriff’s office) between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. we’ll be happy to take a complaint and we will definitely look into it,” he said.

As far as the city’s noise violations, Huffman said the dispatchers are required to send law enforcement out on possible felony calls before handling any minor charges.

“Misdemeanor complaints are second to felony complaints,” he said.

Still, Huffman said, any calls to dispatch are taken seriously.

“We answer these calls as quickly as possible,” Huffman said.