The 9-1-1 Communications Center is the public safety answering point for Lake County. It is responsible for answering both 9-1-1 and nonemergency calls for law enforcement, fire, and EMS services, as well as dispatching for law enforcement, fire department, and EMS agencies.

Useful Information

  • When should I call 9-1-1?

    Lake County, along with most other counties in South Dakota, enjoys the services of a single three digit telephone number to dial in the event of a fire, police, or medical emergency.

    9-1-1 is for use in reporting emergency situations. Learning what an emergency is goes hand in hand with learning what isn't. A fire, an intruder in the home, an unconscious family member - these are all things that would require a call to 9-1-1.

    A skinned knee, a stolen bicycle, or a lost pet shouldn't result in a call to 9-1-1. Still, teach your child that if ever in doubt and there's no adult around to ask to always make the call. It's much better to be safe than sorry.

  • How to make a call to 9-1-1

    When a 9-1-1 call is answered, the dispatcher will announce "Lake County 911". Stay Calm! The dispatcher will ask the following questions to find out what type of problem you have and what emergency agency is needed to assist you:

    Where is the emergency?
    What is the emergency?
    What is your name?
    What is your telephone number?

    Stay on the line until the Dispatcher says it is okay to disconnect. Follow any instructions that you may be given by the dispatcher. If you are reporting a fire or a medical emergency, the dispatcher will then dispatch fire departments or emergency units or dispatch an ambulance. If you are reporting a police emergency, the dispatcher will immediately dispatch the appropriate officer.

  • Will I get an immediate response if I call 9-1-1?

    If you have reported an emergency situation, law enforcement, fire, or EMS will respond to your emergency as quickly as possible. If these agencies are busy, a response will be provided in order of urgency.

  • What should I do if I accidentally call 9-1-1?

    This can and does happen frequently. If you make an accidental call to 9-1-1, stay on the line and speak with the dispatcher. This will save the dispatcher and law enforcement valuable time. If you make an accidental call to 9-1-1 and hang up, it will still go through, and the dispatcher will often make efforts to try and reach you back or even send out a law enforcement officer to verify that everything is okay. This may directly impact someone having a real emergency elsewhere in the community.

  • Talking About 9-1-1 With Your Child

    Everyone needs to know about calling 9-1-1 in an emergency. But children in particular need specifics about what an emergency is. Asking your child, "What would you do if we had a fire in our house?" or "What would you do if you saw someone trying to break in?" gives you a chance to discuss what constitutes an emergency and what should be done if one occurs. Role playing is an especially good way to address various emergency scenarios and give your child the confidence he or she will need to handle them.

    For younger children, it might also help to talk about who the emergency workers are in your community - police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, and so on - and what kinds of things they do to help people who are in trouble. This will paint a clear picture for your little one of not only what types of emergencies can occur, but also who can help.

    Make sure that your child understands that calling 9-1-1 as a joke is a crime. In some cities, officials estimate that as much as 75% of the calls made to 9-1-1 are nonemergency calls. These are not all pranks. Some people accidentally push the emergency button on their cell phones. Others don't realize that 9-1-1 is for true emergencies only. That means it is not for such things as a flat tire or even about a theft that occurred the week before.

    Stress to your child that whenever an unnecessary call is made to 9-1-1, it can delay a response to someone who actually needs it. All of Lake County has what is called enhanced 9-1-1, which enables a call to be traced to the location from which it was made. So if someone dials 9-1-1 as a prank, emergency personnel could be dispatched directly to that location. Not only could this mean life or death for someone having a real emergency on the other side of town, it also means that it's very likely the prank caller will be caught and punished.


April Denholm

911 Communications Director Send an Email

Deb Stamm-Gartner

911 Communications Dispatcher

Ben Gearhart

911 Communications Dispatcher

Shannon Hoffman

911 Communications Dispatcher

Megan Houser

911 Communications Dispatcher / Trainer

Nancy Vickmark

911 Communications Dispatcher

Contact Information


Non-emergency Dispatch:

Non-emergency Police:

Non-emergency Sheriff:

911 Director:


County Offices Closed
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

County offices will be closed on Friday, April 10, 2020, in observance of Good Friday.

Real Estate & Mobile Home Taxes - First Half
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

First half of Real Estate and Mobile Home Taxes due by the end of April. Please bring your tax notices with you. Tax payments must be made for the exact amount only.
Tax payments may be sent to the Treasurer's Office at 200 E. Center St, Madison, SD 57042 and MUST be postmarked by April 30. Please send your tax stubs to ensure proper credit to the correct parcels of land. Please note: Payments received or postmarked after April 30th will reflect a late fee and interest.

County Response to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
Friday, March 27, 2020

The Commission adopted a plan for continuity of county operations in response to the COVID-19. Currently county offices are open and available to do in-person business by APPOINTMENT only. Please review the release here for specific details. This plan was updated on 3/24/2020 - click here for specific details.

Voter Registration
Thursday, March 26, 2020

Lake County offices are open and available to provide in-person essential services to the public by appointment only. Voter registration forms may be mailed. There is a locked drop box in the north vestibule of the courthouse where forms can be dropped off. The box is checked every two hours. For voters that want to deliver their form in person, please call 605-256-7600 for an appointment.

County Board of Equalization
Monday, March 23, 2020

The County Board of Equalization will meet in the commission meeting room on Tuesday, April 14th, in accordance with SDCL 10-11-25. All persons considering themselves aggrieved by said assessment are required to submit written notice tot he County Auditor no later than Tuesday, April 7, 2020.

Renew Drivers License or Vehicle Licenses Online
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

For driver’s license renewals:

In order to renew vehicle license online, you do need to have a SDDL or SDID. Renew online at:
The self-service terminal (STS) kiosk machines are also available for vehicle license renewals. It doesn’t matter what county you reside in, anyone with a SDDL or SDID can renew with a STS kiosk machine.

Load Limits - Effective 3/02/2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Seasonal road restrictions will become effective at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, March 2, 2020, due to the unusual warm weather conditions. Click here to view the list of restrictions. Seasonal road restrictions will remain in effect until lifted by the Lake County Highway Superintendent.

Monday, January 13, 2020

For Filing Nominating Petitions for the Primary Election and for Filing Independent Candidate Petitions - Click HERE to view the Notice.

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