Warren County E-911 center gets upgrade

Published 12:30 am Monday, May 25, 2015


The operations center at Warren County E-911 on Clay Street used to look a bit like a dungeon.

It was dark, cramped, and loud and as dispatchers took emergency calls, it was almost impossible to talk to another dispatcher. But last week, the building got a makeover with new dispatch consoles and preparations for a new phone system to be installed later in the year, interim E-911 director Chuck Tate said.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“It gives us a way to make it work the best,” Tate said.

The old arrangement of dispatchers had each sitting in a darkened cubicle, unable to see or easily communicate with others on duty, meaning that two dispatchers would have great difficulty working on the same call, Tate said. The new consoles are arranged in a rectangle with a large open space in the middle.

“I think it’s better for communication in the room,” dispatcher Edwin Green said, as he was standing at one of the new consoles.

The ability to stand and work is also something new, Tate said.

Consoles are fully adjustable allowing dispatchers to either stand or sit at any time during their shift.

“When you have to sit for 12 hours, and I mean sit for 12 hours without going anywhere, that’s bad your health,” Tate said.

The new arrangement is also intended to promote teamwork and reduce stress, Tate said. On average, the E-911 office receives more than 600 calls every day. About 330 of those are calls for service.

“We don’t need every two years to lose 25 to 30 percent of our staff. We need to find ways to reduce the stress levels,” he said.

Services to 911 were never interrupted, Tate said.

“Putting everything in live slowed us down a little bit, but we were able to do it,” Tate said.

The upgraded furniture’s arrival also meant portions of the room were rewired and ready to accommodate a new phone system that is set to come online in July.

“In the 911 world phone systems are very special and they’re only going to last about five years,” Tate said.

The new system will allow some additional functionality. Previously, the phone system could not be upgraded without also replacing computers.

But with the new phone system, each can be upgraded separately. The new system will also have more advanced mapping capabilities and allow calls to be prioritized.

For example, Tate said, if a call comes in about a wreck, the next few calls in that area are also likely to be about the same wreck.

But a call from a different part of the county would be another emergency that had not been dispatched.

The current system does not allow calls to be taken out of order.

“There will be responders in that area, and we will sort out who we need, but the rest of the world is still going on,” Tate said.