Led by Captain Chris Buchanan, the Gulf County Sheriff's Office Communications Division is staffed 24 hours a day; 7 days a week; 365 days a year. Dispatchers are certified 911 public safety telecommunicators through the Florida Department of Health and must recertify every two years through continuing education.
The Communications Division receives and dispatches calls for the Sheriff's Office, as well as the Port St. Joe Police Department, Gulf County Emergency Medical Services, and eleven (11) volunteer fire stations located in Gulf County. In addition, the communications division receives and dispatches all calls for animal control within the county and answers after-hours water/sewer calls for the City of Port St. Joe. All calls to 9-1-1 throughout Gulf County, both land line and cellular, are answered at the Gulf County Sheriff's Office.
One of the most important roles of the public safety telecommunicator is maintaining radio contact with deputies, officers, and emergency responders. They are the "life-line" to the deputies, officers, and emergency responders. Requests from the responders to contact other agencies are carried out by the communications division. These requests may include contacting utility companies, public works, or assistance from other law enforcement agencies.
Public safety telecommunicators have access to the Florida Criminal Information Center (FCIC) and National Criminal Information Center (NCIC). The information centers provide access and an ability to communicate with other agencies throughout the United States and Florida. Through FCIC/NCIC they are able to determine if a subject is wanted by another agency, if an item/vehicle has been reported stolen, or if someone has been reported missing. They also enter stolen items, vehicles, license plates, missing persons, wanted persons, protection orders, etc. in the system from Gulf County.