COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton Countians made a few more calls in 2021 for emergency aid than the year before.
While total calls generated were only up 1% from 2021, the Covington-Newton County 911 Center’s 2021 annual report showed calls for EMS services had increased by more than 11%.
Established in 1989, the center serves as the sole public safety answering point for all of Newton County. The center dispatches all calls for service for Covington Fire Department, Covington Police Department, Newton County Fire Service, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Oxford Police Department, Piedmont Newton Emergency Medical Services, and Porterdale Police Department, while also working closely with the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, Georgia Pardons and Parole, Newton County Animal Control and the Newton County District Attorney’s Office.
In 2021, the center’s total call volume increased from 104,529 in 2020 to 105,650 in 2021.
Making up more than 76% of all calls were calls to law enforcement. Among the 80,588 law calls, 50,841 were directed to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and 25,075 were to the Covington Police Department.
Per the report, there were 9,970 fire calls made in 2021, making up less than 10% of total calls generated.
The remaining 14% of total calls were directed for EMS services. There were a total of 15,092 calls to EMS in 2021, which was an 11.48% increase from 2020 and a more than 15% increase from 2019.
All calls are directed to National EMS, of Priority Ambulance, who is contracted for services through Piedmont Newton Hospital.
In a previous public meeting, officials said there were about 500 EMS calls per month (about 6,000 per year) from the city of Covington alone, which equates to roughly 40% of total EMS calls, per the 2021 report.
Call volume can be expected to increase as county’s population continues to increase.
Aside from dispatch services, the 911 Center reportedly handled 654 open record requests in 2021.
The center also fielded a total of six complaints and libelous incidents. Of those incidents, only two were investigated, the report stated.
“Both complaints were sustained for neglect of duty,” Director Trudy Henry stated in the report. “No investigations revealed the need to change policy or training practices, however all sustained complaints resulted in remedial training and/or disciplinary actions for those individual employees. All complaints were handled satisfactorily at the line level by supervisors. Therefore, there were no Internal Affairs investigations conducted.”
E-911 employees completed a total of 1,258 training hours over the course of 2021.
The center also was part of a dozen community outreach programs.
Tyler Head was awarded Employer of the Year. Krista Hipps was awarded Dispatcher of the Year. Callie Gibbs was awarded Rookie of the Year.
In August, the center welcomed Annie, a therapy dog, to the team.
“Her presence brings joy and love into a workspace filled with stressful calls and long hours,” the report stated.