SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Created in 1980, Metro Communications has been around for 43 years. The agency has gone through a lot of changes in those four decades. At that time, Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead was a Sioux Falls Police officer. He says the police department and the sheriff’s office had their own dispatch centers.

“When the public safety building was built the sheriff of those days and the mayor and the police chief got together and said, look we’ve got to stop duplicating services,” said Milstead. “And so they formed a centralized dispatch center in the public safety building and ultimately that grew from that center, a single center to become Metro Communications.”

Over the years, Metro Communications has gone through several renovations as technology improved. Before cell phones and computers, two-way radios were the main form of communication for police, fire, and ambulance crews

“It was literally impossible to directly communicate as a city officer to talk to a state trooper, we weren’t even on the same radio system we were on a high band frequency and the state was on a low band frequency,” said Milstead.

The mayor believes this latest evolution of Sioux Falls Area Metro will be good for everyone involved.

“We are sometimes stuck in our historical ways to think the way we ran things 20 years ago still make sense today and quite honestly they don’t,” said TenHaken.

The mayor says as Sioux Falls and the surrounding towns grow, the support structure we depend on needs to evolve with us. Metro will enter a new chapter this fall when they move into a new “state of the art” facility at the new public safety campus in Sioux Falls.