JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Dispatchers with Jonesboro's Emergency 911 Center are excited.
A grand opening took place at the center on Friday.
Emergency 911 Director Jeff Presley said their excited to have all the renovations complete.
"We started this about three months ago with an over haul," Presley said. "This is a 20 year co ax and wiring replacement for E 911, which covers all of the county. City owned agency, but we cover everything in Craighead County. Every fire department and police department, we dispatch for them."
Presley said this is something the emergency system has needed for some time.
"Twenty years ago when this center went in it was built a little bit small," Presley said. "We needed more room. So, the console furniture we had was taking up a lot of space. We did a redesign during the replacement of the wiring."
Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said keeping the emergency system up to date is essential.
"The heartbeat of public safety starts in this room," Perrin said. "What I mean by that is when people call in with a dire need for police, fire or any type of dispatch for emergency services, this is the kind of hub if you will that goes out to our police, fire, and more. I'm real pleased that this was remodeled with an upgrade with the sales tax that you and I pay on the cell phones. That money went to buy all of our new telephone upgrades this year as well as all of our new furniture you see in this building."
Presley said the upgrade was necessary.
"One of the reasons for this remodel and setting up the consoles for more room," Presley said. "We're moving this to the next phase of the 911 business, which is a state mandate. It's next Gen 911. So, in the near future, you'll be able to dial 911 and send streaming videos. You'll be able to take photos and send them in. So, we're getting prepared for those upgrades. We just upgraded our phone system in the last four months to a new Next Gen compliance system."
Perrin said as the city continues to grow, so should our systems.
"Jonesboro is growing," Perrin said. "The more police officers we put on the road that's more demand on the center here. These folks answer thousands of calls in a month and I'm pleased to say we don't have drop calls or people call in and they can't get to where they're going. And so, we also added three new call takers. That's people who answer the phone, but not for the emergency or the police. Let's say you had a problem at your home or CPR or something like that. They can stay on the line now with you and walk you through that. And before, a dispatcher can't do that. A dispatcher has to get in and get out on those calls. So, we're real pleased and we'll keep adding as we go."
Perrin said his was impressed with all the changes.
"We have very modern equipment here for dispatch," Perrin said. "I don't think people realize the many things you can do through this center. On the 911 text, you can text folks if you're in your house and you feel like someone is in there. Rather than talk, you can text through this center. And also the cell phone, we can pin point you now by a call of where you're at for help or need. And so, there are just a lot of things upgraded with the system as well as upgraded the facility."
Perrin said in addition to the upgrades their training all the time.
"I want to train and be able to cross train these people all the time," Perrin said. "Cross train people on both sides, call center and dispatch. So, if something happens and you have a big deal hit, like a tornado, this place is going to be extremely busy. And so, I want to get some more stations in here that may be idle, but ready to go."
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