Former West Virginia state trooper Ronald Mason started his first full month
as Morgan County’s new 911 Director this week. Mason took over the emergency communications office on March 11 after an extended search for a new director.
Deputy Director Sarah Hogbin had served as the 911 center’s acting director from November to March following the firing of Zachary Caldwell from the post.
Mason, originally from Berkeley County, had retired in May 2017 from being the Detachment Commander for the Romney West Virginia State Police barracks. He spent 18 years and seven months as a law enforcement officer, then took a medical retirement for injuries he first sustained in the State Police academy.
West Virginia State Police communications for this district are headquartered out of the Romney detachment, so Mason brings to Morgan County some experience managing and supervising dispatch staff, he said. Most of his professional experience comes from the other side of the emergency radio.
Mason has already put some organizational changes into place at Morgan County’s 911 center. He’s also had the county’s GIS (geographic information system) director work with the 911 center’s technology provider to update maps used by dispatchers to send out first responders. Mason said previous maps were outdated and didn’t even show all of the county’s schools.
More technology upgrades are expected at the 911 center, according to county officials who discussed funding for new computers and servers during recent budget meetings. Commissioners have been talking about building a new 911 center for several years, though no specific plans have been presented in public for a new facility.
Commissioners also recently hired several part and full-time dispatchers so the 911 center is fully staffed.
Mason said he has a lot to learn in his new position, but likes to take on challenges.
“I do firmly believe we have a lot of great employees there,” he said of the 911 center staff.