Darren Doyle, story and photos
Director of Emergency Management Pat Prunty took a few minutes to explain the complete overhaul of the county's 911 system today as we stopped by the county dispatch center. The current system run by Windstream is not only outdated, but has become obsolete. Prunty also said there is no longer parts or support available for the current system.
The county currently pays Windstream approximately $7200 per month for the current 911 system which according to Prunty, has certainly had it's share of problems. "Sometimes it works right, sometimes it doesn't," he said.
The new upgrade also puts the county on the path to be able to handle text messages and video sent to 911 by cellphones in the near future. "We won't be able to do that yet, but this system will be able to handle that, once those requirements become statewide."
Above: Tech crews work to upgrade the county's 911 system
Discontinuing the current 911 from Windstream will not only allow county equipment to be as up-to-date as possible, but will also save the county around $4000 per month as the cost will drop from around $7200 to $3200.
Cost of the upgrades are around $110,000, but Prunty was able to secure funding through grants for around $70,000.
Workers from three different companies, AK & Associates, Integrated Partners, and Geo Connect will be busy for the next few days as the upgrades are scheduled to switch over to the new system on Thursday at 9AM.
Prunty said all the new equipment, telephones, and mapping resources have to work together, but there would be no down time for the system while the work is being done.
According to Prunty, no changes will be noticeable when the system actually changes over, but will simply be a better, more reliable system for the entire county. "Our local Windstream guys here are great, but when you have to deal with company people from out of state and elsewhere, it's been pretty difficult."