News : First Responders Report Issues with Rogers County 911 Call Center
Rogers County, OK, USA, July 21, 2015 -- First responders in Rogers County say something must be done to fix issues found with the county's newly acquired 911 call center.
The Rogers County 911 call center opened last January. It's equipped with all of the latest technology. But, first responders tell 2 Works for You that the new system is full of potentially dangerous delays.
"This is a life threatening situation that needs to be taken care of," says Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.
Walton doesn't pull any punches when it comes to what he thinks of the service his deputies are getting from the county's new 911 call center.
He says his deputies often have to wait to get a response from dispatch, they sometimes don't get accurate information and he says the calls are left on hold far too long before they are assigned.
Walton says, "To hold a call, nobody could provide me with an explanation of why did you hold that call for five minutes?"
Richard Wallace was heading down Route 66 in Rogers County on Monday when he came upon a cancer patient whose car was stuck. Wallace says the man was overcome by the heat and in need of help, so he called 911.
"I tried contacting 911. I was put on hold automatically," says Wallace. "I was on hold for seven minutes. It was very problematic when you need help and you can't get it."
District 3 Rogers county commissioner Ron Burrows says the commission is taking steps to fix the system, he says "It's definitely a priority. It really is."
During Monday's county commission meeting, commissioners approved $26,400 to hire a consultant, Priority Dispatch, to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the center and give the commissioners recommendations on how to address the problems.
"We've got the tools," says Burrows. "The center was up and running. Now we just need to evaluate to see what it's going to take in order to move it to the next level."
Now that the consulting firm has officially been hired, Burrows hope to get the firm started on their evaluation of the 911 call center as quickly as possible.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2015