E-911 Almost Ready

E911 Almost Ready
By: Wes Wallace
Benton, MO - Computer boxes, a maze of wires, and a host of high tech equipment. It's all in the new E911 Center in Scott County. After months of planning and more months of waiting, the facility will open later this month inside the Scott County Jail.
"This is the main part of the equipment, without this here, it wouldn't work," says Joe Burton, Scott County's EMS Director, "With this new system, we can track calls and know exactly how long it takes to respond to a particular emergency."
In the past the 911 dispatch center was in Morley, separated from the Scott County Sheriff's dispatch up the road in Benton. Once the new center is up and running, communication for police, fire and medical responders will all sit under one roof.
"Even though callers may not notice anything on their end, we'll notice a big difference here," explains Burton, "In case of a major disaster we can page all EMS workers at once, or in a minor incident we can call multiple or just a few, depending on who and what we need."

The radio consoles are digital, so despite the transmission frequency, a dispatcher at the center can connect a police officer on one channel to a firefighter or EMT on another channel.

The facility cost about 90 thousand dollars, most of it was paid for by grant money. Hurricane Katrina delayed the opening till the end of this month, because phone lines couldn't be installed and other equipment shipped in time.