Lawton's 911 dispatch center receives upgrades

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Out with the old and in with the new at the Lawton dispatch center. At the beginning of the year 7NEWS told you about the changes coming to dispatch, and this month, the new system has now been put into place. 911 is seen as a life line and the more up to date that line is, the better. The dispatchers are using their new system to answer your calls. And the answer to that call is still the same, but the system is different. But you wouldn't know it.

"You don't want people to think that you are going to be without service and as every one knows we never went without service, not even for a second," Emergency Communication Manager Jessica Carter said.

Carter, along with her team, went through the transition last week. They replaced their system line by line and computer by computer.

"Testing the trunk lines making sure they're working whether it was a 911 call or if you're just calling us because their was a loose dog out and you wanted to report that to animal control," Carter said. "You wouldn't even know the phones were being switched over."

A contract with Motorola to get the Next Generation 911 was approved by city council in November, and after 5 months of IT work and training, they are live with the system.

"We went from having 8 consoles having phone systems, full phone systems to now actually having 11," Carter said.

The highlight of this new equipment? The new mapping system with an extra monitor just for it for everyone.

"So they'll be able to see the map and view it while they are dispatching calls," Carter said. "They can actually look at the same map that the call taker is working off of. If we're trying to basically locate a caller or maybe that caller is moving and we know that they are moving and so that dispatcher can also be following that map as well as following the notes in the actual calls."

This system also could have the capability of receiving of 911 texts, but that has not been put into place because the need isn't there yet. But Carter says it's something they want to work toward in the future.

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