Salem Police Continue to Recover from Lightning Strike

November 27th Is Goal to Get 911 Dispatchers Returned to the Salem Police Department

Salem Police Chief Sean Reynolds hopes the department's dispatch center will be able to reopen on November 27th. That's the date Reynolds has been given to restore the 911 system following a severe lightning strike on Thursday, November 2nd.

"The main components for computer control panel that helps us do radio dispatch and 911 is severely damaged beyond repair. We're working with a company to not only get a replacement but then reinstallment."

Reynolds notes it will take longer to get all of their systems back up and running. He feared the restoration date could have even been later.

"To the general public services are not interrupted, they are just different. You will still get service. If you call 911 it will ring into Centralia, not Salem. The switch has, so to speak, been flipped to allow that to happen. If you call the non-emergency line, one of us will answer and we'll make sure the call goes to the right place."

Reynolds says there will be some overtime while the dispatchers are in Centralia. He's confident the cost of equipment repair will be covered by the city's and 911 system's insurance. Reynolds says insurance will also likely cover most of the overtime expense.

The department once again has internet and partial phone service that was also knocked out by the lightning strike.

As far as where the lightning struck, Reynolds says that is still a mystery. He reports the fire department even examined the roof and could find no entry point.

It is believed the same lightning strike traveled through communications lines to the Marion County Law Enforcement Center and the Courthouse knocking out their internet and phone service as well. The county buildings have now had all service restored.