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Linn County Front Page News

Posted on: March 16, 2022

Linn County Sheriff’s Office Implements Medical Priority Dispatch System

Linn County Sheriff's Office Star

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is excited to announce the implementation of the Medical Priority Dispatch System™ (MPDS) to better serve the residents of Linn County.

With this new system, Communications Operators will follow nationally recognized standards and research-based protocols to identify life-threatening situations and to safely prioritize calls for response. The protocols guide Communications Operators through a series of questions they ask callers in order to identify the problems so that they can send the correct type of help. 

Communications Operators will also use the questions to provide first responders with accurate information so that they can more effectively give care once they arrive on the scene. Additionally, with the MPDS, Communications Operators can provide lifesaving and safety instructions to callers and patients before responders arrive. For example, by using the MPDS, the dispatcher can instruct a caller on performing CPR or delivering a baby.

The Priority Dispatch System™ (PDS™) includes ProQA® software, a three-day certification training course for Communications Operators, and continual quality improvement (QI) benchmarks and training. All Communications Operators who work on the new system are certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAED™) and must recertify every two years, complete 24 hours of continuing dispatch education (CDE), and pass all requirements for IAED recertification.

Proactive QI benchmarks are an important part of the PDS. Use of this system will allow us to assess the quality of the care we provide our communities, allowing us to make positive adjustments to training and staff in response to these assessments.

Stakeholders from local fire departments and ambulance services, along with law enforcement, emergency physicians, and Communications Operators held regular meetings for the past six months to provide input and guidance to lead to a successful deployment.  

First responders have been trained to interpret the additional information and response codes as recommended by the software. The Cedar Rapids Joint Communications agency has used MPDS since 2011, which has resulted in numerous lives saved due to Communications Operators utilizing the MPDS. 

The Communications Division of the Linn County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for communications operations for the Sheriff's Office, as well as four police departments, five ambulance services, and 21 fire departments serving Linn County. We dispatch approximately 4,000 medical calls per year and have 13 full-time Communications Operators, who staff our dispatch center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Communications Operators have specialized training on multiple systems, including computer controlled radio and phone systems. Computer-Aided-Dispatch software assists in providing the quickest, most appropriate response, based on the caller's location and nature of the assistance needed.

The Communications Center is equipped to handle both landline and wireless 911 calls using the most up-to-date internet protocol (IP) based next generation 911 (NG911) standards, including Text-to-911. Radio communications with law enforcement, fire departments, and ambulance services are handled on a countywide 800 MHz P-25 trunked radio system. The system is shared by all public safety agencies in Linn County and 18 other nearby counties, thus allowing seamless communications between first responder agencies.


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