Altus_The Altus Police Department is making way for some high tech improvements to their dispatch system. City workers spent the day pulling out old consoles and wiring to make room for a new E-911 GPS location system, which is designed to help emergency responders locate people who make calls from cell phones. "Right now if you're on a cell phone, and you call 911, we can't locate you. We don't have the equipment," says Altus Police Department Communications Supervisor Mike James.
It will take ten days to complete the work, and since they can't afford to shut down dispatch, they've moved it out of the building. Although they did have a few glitches with the phone systems, it took a little time to patch in some of the rural communities such as Martha and Duke. But now, everyone is online and a phone call away from help.
James is having the old dispatch consoles ripped out to make room for the new one. The improved system will have GPS location technology to track callers from cell phones - making it a lot easier for emergency response vehicles to make it to the scene. Since it's such a mess, and they can't afford to shut down, they have temporarily moved police dispatch to the Emergency Management Offices.
Altus Emergency Management Director Lloyd Colston says it only makes sense to move it there, so they could monitor what would happen if the police department's 911 center malfunctioned. He says it's working just like they had planned. "Part of the plan for Altus is that this was going to be the back-up 911 dispatch center," says Colston.
The Police Department says everyone should still go to the downtown offices if help is needed. "All the public is to come to 121 North Grady. We'll have people here 24/7 to answer any questions or to help them in any way," says James. He says the new system will help emergency responders save more lives. "I'm excited about it," he says. "I've been waiting for it, and we're real happy to get it. I really think it'll help the community."
Again, the Altus Police Department wants to remind the community that their office downtown is still open. If you need anything go to the offices at 121 North Grady. The new dispatch location system costs taxpayers over $150,000, but the city says it was well spent.
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