During emergencies dispatchers are the first source of contact, disseminating information to the appropriate agencies.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a grant totaling a little more than $139,000 to enhance its 911 system, making it easier to locate those in emergency situations.
Grace Thomas, the 911 director for the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, says, "It's a better system for the county because we can respond, we know where people are at pretty much, and that cuts response time, and that's the mean thing in a true emergency."
Thomas says in the past it was difficult for them to help people who called them from their cell phones. Right now, 911 dispatchers can only identify the cell tower the signal is emitting from and the phone numbers of the cell phone user. All that will soon change.
The new system will have an electronic mapping component to pinpoint the exact location of a caller and guide the emergency crews to the person’s exact location.
It will be nine months to a year before the new system will be put in place. The old system will be housed at another facility and will be used as a backup if the new system crashes.