Click here for other contact numbers Dispatch: 269-657-3101 Admin: 269-657-2006 Jail Information: 269-657-2171

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Calls to Central Dispatch
9-1-1 Calls        Ambulance Calls        Fire Calls        Police Calls

The Dispatch Division is supervised by 9-1-1 Central Dispatch Director, Tim Mcgee (269-657-3101 Ext. 221 or by email). Central Dispatch has 13 full time dispatchers working 24 hours a day and are responsible for answering and disseminating calls to 14 different Fire Departments, 13 EMS Services, and 17 different police agencies throughout the county.


Dispatch Director
Tim Mcgee

Asst Dispatch Director

Mike Hostetler  


Mission Statement

Van Buren Central Dispatch will serve as the critical link between our citizens, visitors and public safety agencies. By being respectful, compassionate, and professional; we are committed to making a difference in the lives of others.



Smart911 allows citizens to provide the additional details that 9-1-1 call takers may need in order to assist them during an emergency. When you dial 9-1-1 today, the information received by the 9-1-1 call center can be limited based on the type of phone you are calling on. With Smart911, anytime you make an emergency call from a phone registered with your Safety Profile, the 9-1-1 system recognizes your phone number and automatically displays your profile on the screen of the call taker who receives your call.

Visit to sign up or read more about how this could help you, your family and pets.

Van Buren County Central Dispatch Center
205 S. Kalamazoo St   Paw Paw, MI   269-657-3101

9-1-1 InformationVan Buren County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center

If 9-1-1 service is interrupted for any reason,
have a listing by your phone of the local telephone numbers of the police, fire and EMS service in your community. You can find these telephone numbers in your local telephone book. Be prepared, have these emergency telephone numbers posted near your phone!

What is 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the telephone number that provides direct access to police, fire and medical assistance and initiates a coordinated response.

When to use 9-1-1?

In an emergency call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress, a fire, a serious illness or injury or any situation requiring immediate response of the police, fire or ambulance services.

What the 9-1-1 dispatch needs to know:

Speak slowly and clearly. Let the dispatcher ask the questions the responders must know. They include: address where help is needed, nature of the problem, your name and telephone number. IMPORTANT: Call 9-1-1 first in all emergency situations. Do not call family members or friends. Do not attempt to transport a seriously ill or injured person. We can get qualified help to the victim much faster and safer than you can get the victim to help. *Stay on the phone and answer all of the questions. Do not hang up until told to do so. Help is on the way as you are speaking.

Things Consumers Should Know About 9-1-1 Products:

Thinking about purchasing a communications service to help you in the event of emergency? Considering downloading an application that adds "extras" to 9-1-1 on your Smart phone? Are you looking into buying a phone or communications product that will assist you to locate a lost or missing disabled or elderly person through the 9-1-1 system? Have you purchased a 9-1-1 application? Before you do, here's some information that should help inform you about the myriad of products and services that are being marketed to the public as well as some of limits on the current 9-1-1 system.

Non-service initialized phones:

Under an order issued by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), 9-1-1 calls made from cellular phones must be routed to a 9-1-1 center (commonly known as a public safety answering point or PSAP), whether they have active service from a provider or not.

   • These phones are known as NSI phones and 9-1-1 calls on NSI phones usually route to a PSAP, but in most cases, they DO NOT provide the caller's call-back number or the caller's location.

   • Some services, such as alerting services (like one-touch calling services for senior citizens) may use NSI phones to call 9-1-1 on a wireless-cellular device. If this is the case, in most circumstances, no call-back number or location information will accompany the call.

   • Many donated wireless phones that are given away in charitable programs are NSI phones.

Texting 9-1-1:

Texting, also known as SMS (or short message service) has become a common means for people to communicate.

   • While texting is often quick, convenient, and in some cases, even easier than making a phone call, the technology to text 9-1-1 has not vet evolved!  At this time, text 9-1-1 messages cannot be moved into the 9-1-1 routing system, nor can location information be provided via text, or can a 9-1-1 phone line send an outgoing text message.

   • Until a broad 9-1-1 network upgrade has been done and a system for the provider to send 9-1-1 text messages has been established, use your regular voice-based system or TTY to activate an emergency call.

   • If you are hard of hearing or deaf and do not have access to a TTY, a 9-1-1 call on a voice-based line may be your best option, even if you are unable to speak.

Dialing 0:

Before the widespread use of 9-1-1, dialing "0" for a telephone operator was commonly used as a means to report an emergency. While 9-1-1 has replaced this system, it is still sometimes used by some people in an emergency.

   • Be aware! Responses and capabilities of the "0" for operator vary from provider to provider (and even from state to state).

   • Your location may not be displayed to the operator.

   • Your call may be answered by a communications provider's operator outside of your state who is not familiar with your emergency response system and may not be trained to answer emergency calls to the level that an emergency dispatcher-telecommunicator is.

Disconnected Phones:

In some areas, disconnected landline phones will still be able to dial 9-1-1, in other areas they cannot. This varies from provider to provider and if it is a potential issue in your household, it is advisable to check with your telephone provider in advance.

Are you thinking of switching providers, phone service, or technology?

There is now a myriad of products on the markets, many of them offering lower costs and more options for service (such as multiple lines, voice mail, and data service).

   • It is important to research any product or service that you are thinking of buying, since they are regulated at different levels, and in some emerging technologies, they may have not have any regulatory oversight at all.

   • Some do not work if you do not have electricity.

Subscription based services:

When searching for a simple, easy way to use a product to activate an emergency response for you
in the event you can't reach the phone, such a device that can be worn as a pendant or clipped to a belt, make sure you ask the provider-seller, "What does it do?"  If a product is being sold and promises to reach a 9-1-1 center, ask the following questions:

     A. Does the product provide location information of the caller to the PSAP?

     B. Does the product provide a call-back number to the PSAP?

     C. If your answer is "NO" to A or B above, ask the provider selling you the service if the emergency call is routed to a private-corporate call center that can contact a PSAP for you with your location information and information about the emergency?

Downloaded Applications:

With the inception of SmartPhones, iPhones, Droids, and the ever-growing options of data-based services that you can have literally at your fingertips, the axiom, "there's an app for that" can also extend to different services using the term 9-1-1. If you want to download an app, make sure you educate yourself about what you are getting. Here are some questions which you should ask:

   1. Where does this service work and is the information from the application available everywhere? Not all jurisdictions across the country participate in notification systems or have the ability to update events in "real time."

   2. If you download an application, ask yourself, "How is this application going to help in an emergency?"

      For instance, how is an application that contacts third parties for you when you call on going to affect you and them when you make an emergency call?

         - Do you have the personal resources to keep that information current?

         - Are others aware that you have made them part of your 9-1-1 service?

Remember, the technology market for consumers is constantly evolving and new products and services are emerging all the time.  If you have a question or if the product sounds to "too good to be true", click here to send us an email or call (269) 657-3101.  If you'd like to learn more about 9-1-1 in Michigan, visit the State 9-1-1 Committee's Web site at:




Van Buren Co. Sheriffs Office Central Dispatch CenterTours of the Central Dispatch are provided to many groups and individuals of Van Buren County. It is the belief of the administration and staff that by educating the citizens and public safety agencies on 9-1-1 communications, they have a better understanding of the job they do and have an opportunity to meet the telecommunicators.

9-1-1  Tips for Parents
Help your child learn their address and telephone number.
Phones - make sure your child knows how to use all of the different types of phones they have access to (cellular, cordless, VoIP).
Post your address and phone number near your phones and make your child aware of it. Help them learn to read it. This is great to have for babysitters and visitors too.

Tell you child to describe your house.

Remind your child to call from a safe place.

If a family member has a specific medical problem, make sure your child is aware of it.
Practice placing 9-1-1 calls with your child by using a play phone or by unplugging your phone. Make up and practice different types of emergencies (police-fire-medical).
Do not use a cell phone for practice calls that still has a battery in it as it will call into 9-1-1 even if it no longer has service.


     Voice over Internet Protocol telephone services are not as new as you might first think. It is based on technology that has existed for many years on the Internet but the quality and reliability were often poor and typically required the user to make and receive calls using special software on the personal computer.

     Significant strides in technology and the rapid increase in broadband internet connections into homes has made VoIP as viable an option as traditional phone service.  

     It is important to note that all VoIP service providers are not created equal when it comes to emergency 9-1-1 service. The FCC mandates that all VoIP service providers enable 9-1-1 calling and provide a callback number and location information. Some of the VoIP providers have yet to meet these FCC requirements.
     Currently there are two ways your VoIP call can be processed. With VoIP Basic emergency calling, the call is not routed to your local 9-1-1 center on emergency lines. Instead, it is sent to a remote private call center on a non-emergency line without location information and possibly without your callback number. This can delay an emergency response. VoIP Enhanced 9-1-1 calling is routed over a dedicated 9-1-1 network and arrives at the emergency dispatch center with both your location and call back number. Make sure you take the time to READ THE FINE PRINT, ask questions and be informed about how you will access 9-1-1.

VoIP Questions - Answers - Provider Information:

 VoIP RESIDENTIAL information                 VoIP BUSINESS information

Before you need 9-1-1:
● Verify that you can access 9-1-1 with your phone. Check your service provider’s Web site for emergency calling features.
●  Be sure to keep your registered location current with your VoIP provider.
● If the power is out, your VoIP service may be out too. Consider purchasing a back up power supply.
● If you travel with your VoIP adapter, be sure to update your registered location with your service provider. The time it takes to process the update can vary considerably. Therefore, when traveling, if you need 9-1-1 service, use another phone.
● Inform children, babysitters, and visitors about your VoIP service.
● Post your address and call back phone number near your phone.
● It is a good idea to know what police, fire or sheriff's department is responsible for your 9-1-1 call and have their phone number on hand to provide to the call taker.
● Consider keeping a land line phone for accessing 9-1-1 emergency services.

The information above is from the website:

Central Dispatch Calls Analysis

Central Dispatch disseminates calls for service for 14 fire departments, 13 EMS /Quick Response and 17 law enforcement contracts and agencies

View detailed reports below for the service area locations and when calls evolved.

Adobe Reader is required to view statistical reports below.  If you experience problems opening the file, please download the current FREE version of Adobe Reader at

Central Dispatch calls for Service 2014 & 2015 - Click here to view summary report by month.

911 Calls in 2014 & 2015 - Click here to view detailed report by month and year.

Ambulance Calls in 2014 here & 2015 here for detailed reports by service area.

Fire Calls in 2014 here & 2015 here to view detailed reports by month and service area.

Police Calls in 2014 here & 2015 here to view detailed reports by month and service area.

We continue to see the trend of 911 calls generated shift from traditional landlines to wireless means. On average, 76% of our emergency calls are made from wireless devices. The caller's location is now on display, to within 6 meters, on GPS equipped phones. With the relatively low cost of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) devices, we anticipate a dramatic increase in their use.  We are also planning for future advances that will allow us to operate a wireless 911 network system and our ability to accept video 911 calls.

Local Fire Departments

     Decatur-Hamilton Fire Department -
Gobles-Pine Grove Fire -
     Keeler Fire Department  - 
     Lawton Fire Department -
     Mattawan Fire Department - 
     Sister Lakes Fire Department -
 South Haven Area Emergency Services  -
     Van Buren Emergency Medical Services -

Helpful Links for Dispatch-Telecommunications

Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO)

National Emergency Number Association (NENA)

Emergency Telephone Service Committee

Criminal Background Checks

State 911 Committee


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