Kingsport Police Department changes records office hours

Rain Smith • Jun 24, 2010 at 1:20 AM

The Kingsport Police Department is no longer staffing its lobby 24 hours a day.

The change in hours occurred this past April. Previously, one could enter the KPD at anytime and find at least one person working the records' window. Now the window is staffed from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

According to Sgt. Todd Harrison, records department supervisor, the reasoning behind the change is two fold: The number of people coming in for assistance overnight didn't justify the staffing; the addition of PDAs for officers in the field eliminated the paperwork once completed during the graveyard shift.

In addition, a long time receptionist recently retired, while another records employee left due to medical reasons. Hence, eliminating the overnight shift also saves money in the city budget.

If someone enters the lobby overnight needing assistance, a sign on the window directs them to a red phone just down the hall, a direct connection to central dispatch. Sgt. Harrison said the new process actually streamlines the previous procedure for reaching an officer at night.

In the past, visitors would explain to the clerk what they needed, with the clerk then contacting central dispatch to send and officer. Now the middleman is cut out of the picture, with visitors directly talking to a dispatcher.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office lobby is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Wayne Anderson said that in his 12 years as Sheriff it has never been open 24 hours. If someone attempts to enter the lobby during non-business hours, a sign directs them to seek assistance at the entrance to corrections, about 50 yards away, which is always staffed by an officer.

The records department of the Bristol Tennessee Police Department, which is the first point of contact for the public, is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The area outside the records window is also equipped with a phone for direct contact with central dispatch.

Last November the Johnson City Police Department altered hours in the records department. Similar to Kingsport, it was previously staffed 24/7, but is no open from 6 a.m. to Midnight Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

While the entrance to the JCPD lobby is locked after hours, an emergency phone outside the door links directly to 911, where dispatchers can remotely open the doors and send officers if necessary.

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