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9-1-1 Center receives upgrade

JACKSON — A new state-of-the-art 911 telephone system will be implemented in Northampton County without the use of county funds.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved a $215,000 upgrade to the system. The funding will come from the county’s E911 fund, an account that collects revenue from telephone surcharges.

The money can be used by counties to purchase equipment and upgrades for their 911 centers. Communications Director for Northampton County’s 911 Operations Center Ronnie Storey estimated Northampton County has approximately $700,000 in their account.

Storey said the current 911 system is six years old and will no longer be serviceable after December 2009.

The consoles used in the center have not been manufactured in the last two years. Storey said the center has been relying on refurbished consoles when one quits working.

While Storey said there is an upgrade available through Embarq (which would run off the old mainframe) for $167,959.95, the current system could be replaced with the state-of-the-art Patriot System for the price of $215,533.19.

He said the system has many features that are not available with an upgrade of the current system. The Patriot System is able to monitor all stations and can give reports as desired from how many calls have come in and which calls were taken by whom as well as how long each call lasted, including hold and mute time.

Storey said the Patriot System is also Internet based and will assist with VoIP calls. The Command Post Unit also permits 911 Center employees to relocate if necessary. An emergency call-taking center can be set up at another location and pipe through IP addresses and still handle calls coming into the communications center.

The commissioners approved the purchase unanimously.