Daily duties related to the Communication Center are providing call taking, dispatching, and paging; along with continually monitoring and responding to over 20 radio channels. The agencies and services range from:
- The Sheriff's Office
- Portage County Jail
- 2 full-time police departments
- 4 ambulance services
- 16 fire departments
- 13 emergency medical responder groups
- Over a dozen community and state agencies
At varying levels, the Communication Center provides services to the Portage County Highway Department, State of Wisconsin Probation and Parole, Portage County District Attorney's Office, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Portage County Coroner, National Weather Service/Weather Spotters, Portage County Parks, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Portage County Emergency Management, Red Cross, Humane Society of Portage County, Portage County Health and Human Services, Stevens Point Streets Department, Stevens Point Transit, UW-Stevens Point Police and Security Services, and various tow/wrecker service providers, along with any mutual aid requests from out of county agencies. The Communication Center fields approximately 135,000 calls annually with over 53,000 being calls for service.
The Communications Center is run by the Portage County Sheriff, and paid for uniformly across Portage County using general tax levy dollars. No municipality is required to pay extra for any services out of the Communications Center.
What we do
Portage County is located in Central Wisconsin. The Portage County Sheriff's Office Communication Center provides communication services to all areas of Portage County, serving a population of 70,377 per the 2020 Census. Located within Portage County are the City of Stevens Point, and the Village of Plover, as well as 8 other villages and 17 towns.
This population had been served through the years by the communication centers of the Portage County Sheriff's Office and Stevens Point Police Department. After extensive remodeling at our Communication Center, the Sheriff's Office absorbed the dispatching duties of the Stevens Point Police Department in June 2013. This allows us to better serve the whole County, its law enforcement officers, and all of the emergency service agencies.
Portage County Community Alert
Emergency Notification System
- Visit the Portage County Community Website for alerts.
- Register now for Portage County Community Alert System.
Portage County Community Alert is an emergency and non-emergency community notification system. Portage County Community Alert enables us to communicate efficiently with residents in just a matter of minutes, helping save valuable time, use resources efficiently, and protect our community. Subscribers can sign up and receive local non-emergency community notifications.
Sign up now to receive important emergency and public outreach information from our county such as severe weather alerts, life-threatening situations, and more. Once you sign up, you can manage the types of alerts you would like to receive and how you would like to receive the alerts. Your contact information is secure and will NOT be shared. This service will ONLY contact you for emergencies or topics you've chosen.
Request to Join
If you do not have the ability to join by using the link provided above, you may use this form to add your information to the Portage County Community Alert system. An account will be created for you, and it may take 30 days or more to be activated. Your contact information is secure and will not be shared. This service will only contact you for urgent news, emergencies, or the topics you have chosen.
Use this form if you wish to voluntarily opt out of the Portage County Community Alert notification system. In doing so, please understand that your residential/business information will be removed by the County and you will no longer receive any recorded phone notifications from the County of Portage. Also, please note that this includes natural disaster notifications, other emergencies, etc. You should further understand that this opt-out may not affect notifications through the federal Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, and the time needed to execute this request may take 30 days or more. Forms must be completed in their entirety, and we must physically receive the original form to honor your request.
How to Effectively Call 911 - What Happens
Calling 911 is very stressful and it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Our Communication Technicians are trained professionals to guide callers through the experience, but knowing what to expect can help make the 911 call go smoothly and get emergency help where and when it's needed. If you choose to call 911, know what to expect and how to react.
- Stay calm. It's important to take a deep breath and not get excited. Any situation that requires 911 is, by definition, an emergency. The Communication Technician knows that and will try to move things along quickly, but calmly and under control.
- Know the location of the emergency and the number you are calling from. This may be asked and answered a couple of times but don't get frustrated. Even though many 911 centers have enhanced capabilities - meaning they usually can see your location on the computer screen - they are still required to confirm the information. If for some reason you are disconnected, at least emergency crews will know where to go and how to call you back. As the call progresses, you will hear clicking - do not hang up!
- Wait for the Communication Technician to ask questions, and then answer clearly and calmly. If you are in danger of assault, the Communication Technician will still need you to answer quietly, mostly "yes" and "no" questions.
- If you reach a busy signal or recording, listen to what it says. If the recording says your call cannot be completed, hang up and try again. While not a usual occurrence, if you get a busy signal, Try Again.
- Let the Communication Technician guide the conversation. He or she is typing the information into a computer and may seem to be taking forever. There's a good chance, however, that emergency services are already being sent while you are still on the line.
- Follow all directions. In some cases, the Communication Technician will give you instructions. Listen carefully, follow each step exactly, and ask for clarification if you don't understand.
- Keep your eyes open. You may be asked to describe victims, suspects, vehicle description(s), license plates, or other parts of the scene.
- Do not hang up the call until directed to do so by the call-taker.
Please take the time to read the mission statement of our Communication Center. The Portage County Sheriff's Office Communication Center is staffed by a dedicated group of trained professionals to provide security and safety to the citizens of Portage County. If you have any questions regarding our Center don't hesitate to contact us.