News : Major Upgrade to Henderson's 911 Call Center Needed
Henderson, KY, USA, Aug 3, 2015 -- A technology upgrade in Henderson County's 911 Services has been in the works for nearly a year. Henderson city and county officials met Monday night trying to find a way to fund the project long term.
Officials told Eyewitness News this upgrade is sorely needed in the Henderson County 911 dispatch center. The equipment they're currently using is more than 15 years old, putting some strain on both dispatchers and officers in and around the county.
It's a call no one wants to make. But if you do need to call 911, you hope and pray someone hears you.
The antiquated system at the facility has made it difficult to communicate with agencies in the field, wasting precious time.
"When our dispatchers transmit out, it may be unclear," says 911 supervisor Mike Shockley. "Not only is it a time thing that could be fatal. But it's also frustrating for the officer or the responder or for ourselves. We've had several times when it gets frustrating in here but, like you said, what's most important is that life out there."
"Fifty years old in computer years," Henderson Mayor Steve Austin quips. "So we're are not able to respond and cover the county and well as we should be able to."
Shockley says there are parts of the county and even the city of Henderson in which officers can't radio back.
"You want to get more precise," he says. "There's times when they're in this building when they have problems getting to us. We're gonna go from basically the Flintstone Age to the state of the art.
The initial capital investment on the project i'm told is somewhere in the neighborhood of 7.2 million dollars... But that money is being collected through the selling of bonds...
Mayor Austin tells Eyewitness News there are only two viable options for long term sustainability in play. One is to raise the phone landline rates. The other, to institute a flat user fee to property owners who have livable dwellings on said property.. those options will continue to be discussed in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned to Eyewitness News as we will continue to follow this story.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, August 6, 2015