Comanche County 911 center gets system upgrades

COMANCHE COUNTY, OK (KSWO) - Starting after the new year, the 911 center in Comanche County will upgrade its system to match industry standards and to make it easier for dispatchers to take your calls during emergencies. Lawton's City Council voted to approve the upgrade this month.

With technology changes, the dispatch center needs a system that will change with it. Those changes include pin-pointing your location quicker or contacting 911 without even calling.

'911 what's the address of the emergency?' is the first question dispatchers ask a caller. But as the question is being answered, the mapping system is zeroing in on their location whether they are on a cell phone or a land line.

"We've gone from people just utilizing a land line to people don't even own land lines," 911 Center manager Jessica Carter said.

Carter said for that reason Next Generation 911 is needed in their dispatch center.

"The service is just getting better, and we're just trying to keep up with technology because technology just changes so much each year," Carter said.

Next Generation 911 is a strictly digital or IP based call system with the capabilities of dispatchers getting a text about an emergency instead of a call.

Carter said that could have big benefits to 911 callers.

"If someone was in a situation where they couldn't talk, and that happens every now and then, and we have a protocol for that. However, if they were able to send us a text without the suspect maybe knowing that would really help possibly save their life, save someone else's life, and help solve crimes that go on every day."

New equipment is on the way to the dispatcher's work stations as well. Now, their call system and mapping program is crowded on the same screen. With this new deal with Motorola Solutions, they get a dual monitor set up.

One with the call system and the other with the upgraded mapping program.

"Mapping is such a big deal for us. Locating people. Sometimes people call and they don't know where they are," Carter said. "So being able to look at a map and to be able to pinpoint a general area so we can direct the police department, first responders to that area is very, very important."

Carter said they can't wait to start helping people with their new system.

"Our service is to get help with citizens. Because they call us because they need help," Carter said.

Carter said they expect everything to be set up and installed by March of next year, but the texting 911 feature won't be ready until later in the year.

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