County department heads support updating of Panola’s E911 data 12/17/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 17, 2013

County department heads support updating of Panola’s E911 data

By Rupert Howell
Panola Supervisors will meet this Thursday to decide whether to employ EIS mapping firm for GIS mapping of E911 data throughout the county.

Emergency Management Coordinator Daniel Cole presented project coordinator Scott Trapolino of EIS of Desoto County.

Much of the county’s emergency dispatching falls under Cole’s department including the 911 dispatch with all rural areas plus Como, Crenshaw and Sardis.

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Other agencies have expressed interest in the visual data bank including Sheriff Dennis Darby who gave an example of an emergency vehicle going to three different locations before being at the correct one over a recent weekend.

“Seconds count… With GPS in the vehicle you go right to it (correct location) — no questions asked,” Darby said.

Cole explained that the system would give mobile users the ability to have GPS in their vehicle but said the current plan is to get accurate visual mapping available to dispatchers so they can better guide all emergency responders.

The updated system would also let dispatchers and emergency responders know the exact location of emergency cell phones calls compared to the current system that gives the location of the tower being used by the cell phone.

Cole also said it would assist emergency responders with “hang-up” calls that he says can amount to 30 a day. He said they often come from a child playing with a discarded phone which still has a battery in it which enables it to call 911.

“We still have to send a deputy,” Cole said explaining that those “hang-ups” tie up officers who could be assisting with real emergencies.

The Emergency Operations director told supervisors the tax office was not interested with the proposed GPS data program, but Chancery Clerk Jim Pitcock expressed an interest as well as did road manager Lygunnah Bean who openly endorsed such a system as means of pinpointing every portion of road, bridges and culverts for maintenance.

Solid Waste Department Director Jennifer Jackson also confirmed support for the mapping with her presence at last Monday’s meeting.

Cole said 14 fire departments, emergency operations, sheriffs department, ambulance services, Como, Crenshaw Sardis, Pope and Courtland would all benefit.

“Everybody except Batesville’s Police and Fire Departments,” are on the county’s dispatch according to Cole who noted that location data from Batesville calls will also be captured through the proposed county system.

The voter registration roles could also be married to the system according to Trapolino who said those capabilities are already available in Desoto County.

Trapolino’s proposal included collecting  data and assembling it so that dispatchers will have a visually enhanced system to better pinpoint locations and structures nearby as well as providing training and updates.

Cole said he had confidence in EIS and Trapolina’s proposal since he has done both Desoto and Tunica Counties. He also said Trapolina had “stepped up,” at no charge when the county’s E-911 had previously needed assistance.

The proposal would not exceed $12,000 and would be split by four different county agencies if approved.