Countywide E911 System Clearing Up Problems

The second week of operation of the countywide E911 system is going well, despite a few problems the staff is working through.

Director Melvin Potter told county commissioners at their weekly meeting Tuesday that there have been “quite a few drop outs, but we’ll addressing those for the next six months.” Drop outs are when telephone numbers don’t match up with an address in the database.

Coordinator Dwight Wise said many of those are fax lines, second telephone lines and such, which will be separated from other lines as they are sorted out. Dispatchers always ask the caller where he or she is when they answer the phone, whether the address comes up on the 911 computer or not. When they don’t, “we work them like basic 911,” Wise said.

Potter said there have also been some radio problems, but those are being worked out as well. Meanwhile, as of Monday, data for all communities in the county have been loaded into the database, and work began Tuesday inputting T-Mobile cell phone data. Other carriers will be added as they are available, so that cell phone calls can be triangulated and locations determined by the system.

Also at the brief commissioners’ meeting, financing for Bethel Public Schools construction projects was approved. Bonds approved by the voters are being handled through the Pottawatomie County Facilities Authority and must be okayed by the commissioners.

“This is identical to what we’ve done in Harrah, Shawnee and Tecumseh,” said Terry West, attorney for the authority. Bethel’s $5 million bond issue will pay for an early childhood addition and a high school/middle school media center.