At 11:33 a.m., on September 1, 2015, McCreary County 911 switched on its new equipment and truly became fully enhanced – fulfilling a long-time promise more than 17 years old.
While the county has been considered operating under enhanced status for two years now, the switch over to the new system Tuesday morning, coinciding with the move to a new, secure location, provides McCreary with the latest, in state-of-the art dispatching equipment.
McCreary County EMS/911 Director Jimmy Barnett and Assistant Director Willie Duncan said the new equipment, paid for out of grant funding totaling more than $150,000 puts McCreary County using the same equipment that is used in Metro Atlanta, Georgia.
“This equipment is the newest and most advanced system available,” Barnett said. “All of us are so proud of what we have accomplished. We have worked hard to get to this point, and will continue to do so to ensure that we provide the people of McCreary County the best services we can.”
The new facility itself is a tremendous upgrade to the old location of the 911 Center.
Earlier this year the Fiscal Court approved a move that would renovate an unused portion of the area below the McCreary County Ambulance Service and transform it into a fully secure, self-contained facility.
In the event of a catastrophic emergency, the building can be used as an emergency command post, allowing for a centralized and secure area for communications and operations.
The new Computer Assisted Dispatch system will allow dispatchers a greater range of information available to them, including past history at that location, floor plans for some locations and an updates tracking system.
Additionally, if other local agencies upgrade their own in-unit computers to the same programming, they would have access to the same data in real-time, instead of having to wait for it to be relayed to them. The information also can be relayed over mobile devices.
The CAD is basically a large database system that would link with the existing system, providing next-generation communication capability to all emergency services using the system.
The database would allow dispatchers to provide turn-by-turn directions to emergency crews, as well as real-time monitoring of their location by tracing their GPS signals.
It would enable dispatchers or officers to link directly to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) instead of having to go the Kentucky State Police Post as they have to now.
With other organization’s permission, such as the school district, the system could link to the district’s security camera network, providing valuable information in the event of an emergency.
In an event, such as a school shooting, a dispatcher could not only pull up a blueprint of the school on the computer, but also by monitoring the security cameras, could help arriving officers better locate the suspect and monitor his movements.
“This represents a lot of hard work by Jimmy, Willie and their whole staff,” McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens said when touring the new facility Tuesday. “Emergency Management Director Rudy Young and Deputy Judge Executive Andy Powell laid a lot of the ground work, and these two have taken that head start and really ran with it.”