Pottawatomie County dispatch receives upgrade

Thursday, August 7th 2008, 11:12 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

TECUMSEH, Okla. -- Pottawatomie County received a technological upgrade to their 911 service, which could now pin point the exact location from where a call was made.

"Everybody in a metropolitan area is familiar with that because that's the way you see it on TV," said Pottawatomie County 911 Director Melvin Potter. "It's like 911 and they know where you are. That's not the way it is in rural areas."

Access to such technology is made more difficult in some parts of the states.

Seventeen of the state's 77 countries have no 911 service at all, according to the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. Fourteen counties have only partial service and 55 counties have no enhanced 911 for wireless or mobile phones.

"Enhanced means that when you call 911, your name and address and phone number appear on our screen," Potter said. "We know who you are and how to get to where you are."

The assistance will come from mapping and addressing software that took two years to compile. It will provide crucial information needed in timely situations.

"If you have a heart attack right then and there and you fall to the floor, we can still...send people to you," Potter said. "If you're on a regular 911 system and you accidentally hang up, the call's lost."

Pottawatomie County raised $750,000 through a one cent tax to pay for the technology and implementation.

"That state advisory board is working on a report to the governor on recommendations," said Steve Willoughby for the ACOG. "Some of those recommendations include providing additional funding for local governments to implement."

Pottawatomie County's new enhanced service does not yet include cells phones, but the county plans to have the capability in September when officials begin phase two of this program.

The money raised through that sales tax also allowed the county to hire 14 dispatchers to staff the new call center.