By David Martin

Center hires new director


January 9, 2019

A county resident has been tapped to head up the Sweetwater Combined Communications Center.

Last week, the joint powers board overseeing the center announced it hired Rick Hawkins as its next executive director. Hawkins was most recently employed with the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, where he was the captain of the administrative section under former Sheriff Mike Lowell. Hawkins started his new position Jan. 8.

Hawkins has 28 years of experience in law enforcement and volunteer firefighting. He was formerly the supervisor of the Sweetwater County Dispatch Center prior to the formation of the combined communications center and the joint powers board.

The decision comes 10 months after Robin Etienne resigned from the position. The board’s chairman, Jim Wamsley, has served as an interim director since Etienne’s departure.

“It’s always nice to find homegrown talent ... to help move that center forward and improve public safety,” Wamsley said.

Wamsley said Hawkins has a wealth of experience in law enforcement, as well as experience in maintaining budgets and management.

Wamsley said the board originally used a firm to seek applicants for the position, winding up with two finalists, one of which withdrew while the board declined to offer the job to the other. Wamsley said the board reworked the position’s requirements after it had received comments that they were to strict and reflected a communications center on par with what serves a large metropolitan area, such as Los Angeles.

After a second round of applications, the board had five finalists, including Hawkins.

“He is the 360-degree package,” Wamsley said.


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