By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress

Pontotoc County supervisors have approved to spend money on new consoles for the E-911 dispatch, with the county responsible for paying some $17,500 in their match.

However, the supervisors must pay for the whole bill on the front end, which will be some $80,000 and then be reimbursed by a grant.

The dispatch operations needed the equipment because the consoles they now have “were installed 11 years ago,” according to Jody Stringer who operates Integrated Communications.

“They have been used 24 hours a day, seven days a week since then,” he pointed out.

A console went down recently which meant that the dispatch has been using only one console and fixing it has been a problem because technology has changed over the past 11 years.

“With the new system, we will also be able to get the sheriff's call integrated into being taped in the new system,” Stringer said.

The sheriff has purchased new equipment and the county radios are now all digital.

In appealing to the board to purchase the equipment, E-911 director Johnny Baggett pointed out that the county would be spending the money wisely because of the equipment they would get for the money spent.

The county is essentially receiving three consoles for the price of one.

“One console will cost some $10,000 to $12,000,” Baggett said, “but the match for the grant that would replace both consoles and upgrade the other one is $18,000, so we would be saving a lot of money.”

At issue is the money crunch that all E-911 operations statewide are under.

Because that is a provided for service entity [like waste management], monies aren’t generated for this department through the levying of the taxes but rather through fees that are collected from phone services.

The entire budget of the E-911 department operates from those funds, and the funds are flowing out at a faster rate than they are coming in.

In Pontotoc County, that is about $200 a month.

While the money is in the budget at the present time to pay for the grant that can be secured, in time at the rate that the monies are flowing out, the budget will be in a shortfall during this fiscal year.

Supervisor Dennis Corder asked Stringer when he would be able to install the equipment.

“I have my men standing by,” Stringer assured. “As soon as it hits the door, I see no reason why we can’t have it up and going in seven days.

“I have another city I’m working with, but the folks there said we are in a critical point here and I can pull off and install this as soon as it comes in.”

The console is an MIP 5000 VolP radio from Motorola®. Stringer assured the supervisors that the county would never outgrow the channels that this system will give.

The console will feature a number of things such as interoperability and customizable channel control. It also has easy drag and drop screens.

Busy dispatchers can respond to a missed call by simply clicking on an entry in the Activity Log, just to name a few.

The supervisors agreed to spend the money to continue to provide the vital services of emergency protection for the citizen of the county.

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