Communications Staff

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In 1991 a Congressional resolution designated the second full week in April each year as National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.  Since this time, public safety agencies nationwide have recognized Telecommunicators, dispatchers, communication operators & radio control personnel for the pivotal role they play in public safety. Public safety dispatchers provide a critical service to the community & all emergency personnel while performing their duties with integrity, quality, accountability and respect.  As the first person on the scene of nearly every crime, fire & medical emergency, the 9-1-1 dispatcher continues to be an invaluable resource for agencies of all sizes.

Oelwein Police Department
Communications Staff Include:

J. Larson  T. Smock


J. Phillips M. Smith L. Wehling


Dispatchers take pride in knowing they are doing something that makes a difference; whether it be saving a life or protecting someone's property by getting help where it is needed as quickly as possible. The accuracy of the information, the care taken with each caller and the ability to remain calm while simultaneously relaying the details of the situation to the appropriate response units could mean the difference between life and death for someone. All are important elements of a dispatcher’s job and their multitasking abilities come into play during every shift.

Each call is received, entered into a Computer Aided Dispatch system and dispatched via radio communications to the appropriate response unit and more often than not, several calls come in at once and all must be handled with the same care and professionalism. The Oelwein Communication Operators also perform data entry, monitor the National Crime Information Computer and handle many non-emergency calls as well as answer the emergency 911 calls.

All the Oelwein Communication Operators are certified by the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy as public safety telecommunicators and receive yearly training to maintain their certifications. They are also certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch, which means they are able to walk callers through how to deliver a baby, how to perform CPR, help a choking victim and other medical instructions until emergency responders arrive on scene.

The Oelwein Public Safety Dispatch Center is housed within the confines of the Oelwein Police Department. It is an Enhanced 911 center where Communications Operators can route police, fire, city, and ambulance resources to answer the thousands of calls for service that are received annually. Requests for services come from citizens, officers and other departments.


Oelwein Communications Center


The community of Oelwein is fortunate to have a 24 hours E-911 Communications Center. This Communications Center receives several thousand calls per year. Of those several thousand calls, in 2010; 1,622 E-911 calls came into this Communications Center. By having this center, the citizens of Oelwein and the surrounding area are provided with more efficient service to their needs and a quicker emergency response time.

Unfortunately, when the communications equipment was upgraded in 2009, the Fayette County E-911 Board decided to stop short of the completion of the upgrade by not updating the Emergency 911 phone system. The Oelwein Communications Center has the oldest 911 telephone system (eighteen years old) in the State of Iowa. The board has chosen not to update this critical equipment citing funding concerns. Instead, the board voted to upgrade the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department 911 System and spend nearly $200,000 on upgrading the fire radio systems throughout the county. The Fayette County Sheriff’s system that they upgraded was last upgraded within the past eight (8) years and the fire communications/paging system was upgraded within the previous six (6) years. The Oelwein Police Department fully supports the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department Communications Center and their efforts in maintaining their equipment. Their Communications Staff does an outstanding job.
Even though the citizens of Oelwein represent approximately one-third of the population of Fayette County and therefore closely represent one-third of the revenue raised for the Fayette County 911 system, the board feels the funding of only one Communications Center is the direction that should be taken. The Fayette County Sheriff and the Oelwein Police Chief have previously gone on record with this board to protest this type of funding plan. Both parties have stated that the funding of both centers allows for a more efficient and safer system for the citizens of Oelwein and all of Fayette County.
It is understood that funding is tight from year to year. It is the belief of the Oelwein Police Department that before funding new projects or adding to your system, you maintain what you have. For the safety of all citizens, the plan to eliminate funding for the Oelwein Communications Center is flawed and without consideration for the citizens of the lower one-third of the county.
With all of that being said, we are extremely fortunate to have the committed Communications Operators that we have and for all that they do to provide a professional and effective emergency response.


City of Oelwein's Ordinances


Oelwein Police Department Frequently Asked Questions

Oelwein Police History

The Oelwein Police Department was established in 1903


The Oelwein Police Department was established in 1903 as the recognized law enforcement for the City of Oelwein

Currently the Oelwein Police Department employs:
10 Full Time Police Officers
4 Full Time Communications Operators
1 Administrative Assistant

7 Reserve (Volunteer) Police Officers


The Oelwein Police Department is located at 20 2nd Ave SW #200, Oelwein, Iowa 50662.





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Emergency # 911
Non-Emergency Phone # 319-283-4311
Address: 20 2nd Ave SW #200, Oelwein, Iowa 50662




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