New County Communications Manager Named
For the City-Times
The Portage County Sheriff John Charewicz announced today that Denise Schultz has been named the new Communications Manager for the Sheriff’s Office. This newly created position will serve as the director of both the Sheriff’s Communications Center as well as the entire county’s public safety communications system.
Ms. Schultz, who was until now employed in the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center as a dispatch supervisor, beat out two other candidates from California and Colorado for the position.
“It’s a great feeling to promote someone from within,” said Sheriff Charewicz, “but it’s even better to know that we had the best working here all along.”
Schultz will be taking the reins of a complex system, serving 32 fire, EMS, and law enforcement agencies across Portage County, as well as 18 agencies that are either non-emergency responders or where Portage County acts as a secondary dispatch point.
“This will be quite a challenging position,” commented Daniel Kontos, Chief Deputy at the Sheriff’s Office. “Not only will she have more than 50 agencies to work with, but there are a lot of major projects that Denise will have to dive right into.”
These projects include a Communications Center remodel, taking over and upgrading the County’s aging 9-1-1 system, redesigning and upgrading the County’s emergency responder radio network, and possibly providing dispatching services for the City of Stevens Point.
Currently, the Sheriff’s Office provides communications services for the entire county, except for the City of Stevens Point, who maintains their own separate dispatch center. Recently the County offered to provide those services for Stevens Point, and consolidate dispatching under one agency. The City has yet to respond to that offer.
“Not only is Denise going to need to hit the ground running, she’ll be darn near sprinting,” Kontos said.
Schultz takes command of the Communications Center with the start of the New Year. One of her very first tasks will be to promote her replacement and hire an additional dispatcher. The Communications Center has a staff of 11 including the new manager, serves as the County’s primary 9-1-1 answering point, and provides emergency and non-emergency communications across Portage County 24 hours a day.
The Communications Manager position was made possible after moving the 9-1-1 duties from the County’s Emergency Management Department to the Sheriff’s Office. “It only makes sense to have the 9-1-1 system actually run out of the 9-1-1 center,” Sheriff Charewicz said.
This allowed County Executive Patty Dreier to reorganize the Emergency Management Department to better allow them to focus on their emergency management duties, as well as the County’s EMS system.