Walters and Cotton Co. officials urge residents to use new 911 system

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 5:37 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Emergency officials said Cotton County residents are not using the new 911 system, but are hoping that will soon change.

Police Chief Phillip Wolfenbarger started 30 days after the new system was put in and said he has spent the last year in office directing people to call 911.

“I’ve been proactively providing people with the non-emergency line to the dispatch center. Advising people to call 911 in an emergency so that we can get the help out faster,” said Wolfenbarger.

“Every day they called the Police Department number and unfortunately we are not in the office all the time. We have an administrative line that we can make phone calls on, but people call that for emergencies instead of dialing 911,″ said Wolfenbarger

Walters Fire Chief David Taylor said he and the system’s board have tried to spread the word but aren’t seeing a response.

“The board has put it in the paper, they’ve put it all over Facebook, they have spread the word to quit calling the Sheriff’s department and call 911,″ said Taylor.

Joe Keaton, the chairman of the 911 trust authority, said this is a very advanced system and will keep residents of Walters and Cotton County safer, but only if they use it.

“This system has the ability if you’re on a wireless phone or cell phone anywhere in the county and you dial 911 it immediately populates a flag on a computer-generated map to where the dispatcher knows instantly your location,” said Keaton.

Taylor said not calling 911 means callers will experience serious delays and possibly put themselves in more dire circumstances.

“If they called the Sheriff’s Department, when someone answers there, they’re gonna have to turn around and take all the information turn around and call the 911 center and relay all the information which is going to delay the process of them getting the call to us and getting us to a fire or accident,” said Taylor.

If anyone calls the Sheriff’s station in Cotton County they will not have the same kind of technology as the 911 center to assist them in emergency situations.