Union County officials are moving forward on a project to overhaul the 911 dispatch system.
“It’s just a total upgrade,” said Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton. “This system will be the state-of-the-art system.”
The project will involve buying all new equipment and “redoing the whole 911 system,” Clayton noted.
The county’s current 911 system is working, but some parts are out of date, he said. Parts for some of the system cannot be purchased anymore, and the software is also out of date, Clayton said.
An approximately $60,000 mapping system will also be put in, Clayton said.
The dispatch center is located at the Union County Sheriff’s Office. The new Zetron system will come with a 10-year warranty. Clayton said officials should not have to worry about anything with the dispatch center for a decade.
The total cost of the project is $778,578, Clayton noted.
The county is applying for a federal loan to pay for the project, said County Administrator Terry Johnson. The plan is for the loan to be paid back with 911 funds, Johnson said.
The goal is to start the project around mid-August and hopefully have the system operating by the first of the year. Officials have been working on the project since late last year.
The dispatch system will have several working stations for dispatchers. The center dispatches for numerous agencies, and the dispatchers go through a lot of training, Clayton noted.
“We’ve got some good dispatchers,” he said. “They’re all certified dispatchers.”
It is important to have a good dispatch system in place, said Clayton. He noted that the dispatchers get help to others during an emergency. The dispatcher is often the first person someone talks to when they need help, he said.
That is why officials take dispatch so seriously, he said. Clayton added that the Union County Board of Supervisors has been very supportive of first responders. The supervisors are devoted to making sure the people of the county are protected, he said.
“They (supervisors) really care about the citizens of this county,” Clayton said.