Tools

MCSD Unveils New State-of-the-art Dispatch System

By Empriss Campbell
By ecampbell@wbbjtv.com

A state of the art upgrade is underway at the Madison County dispatch center.

"Quicker service, when we get a 911 call, say, wanting an ambulance they don't have to dial any numbers they can just touch a button and it instantly goes to that," said Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork.

It's a far cry from when Woolfork began as a dispatcher in Humboldt in 1972, working with only a microphone and a note pad.
Madison County's new 911 emergency system is equipped with touch screens, aerial maps and seamless communication.

"We have access to all local law enforcement, EMS, and fire agencies if we need to speak with them by radio, as well," said Dispatcher Clint Hand.

Hand has been a dispatcher for 20 years and said this is one of the best systems he has ever worked with.

"This mapping system is much better because we have instant access. When a 911 call comes in, it will display the address, show us aerial map of the location. Information about the house, things we made need to know for emergency services," said Hand.

And within six months, dispatchers will be able to receive emergency text messages from cell phones.

"We should be able to receive text messaging, picture messaging from the citizens when they have 911 emergency. If they see a bank robbery in progress and they can take video they can actually send that to 911 once that technology is available," said Madison County 911 director, Kim Augustine.

When dispatch receives an emergency call from a cell phone they can use GPS coordinates to narrow the callers location within about 55 yards.

"It makes it so much easier for us as dispatchers to get hep to people that need it," said Hand.

The new system cost $250,000 and was paid for by E911.

They funded the project with the 911 fees everyone with a telephone pays.