Harrison County upgrades 911 phone system

CADIZ — A new phone system for the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department is expected to provide residents better service when they are in need.

At a meeting Wednesday, commissioners approved a $13,569 Next Generation 911 phone system and training that will expand service and also make call response easier. The system will be installed March 26 and will be provided through General Dynamics Information Technology.

Sheriff Joe Meyers said residents will not notice a significant difference when making calls, but the new system will be a big help to those responding to calls when an emergency happens within the county.

“Our phone and recording system is pretty much obsolete now because we need to go to polycom phones,” Meyers said. “This will be a great asset to have for the sheriff’s office. Calls will be routed much better. It will also allow the calls and radio traffic to be recorded for any future needs we might have. It is a necessary upgrade. What’s going to be nice is if we get that call over across the (county) border, we’re going to be able to transfer that call with that map and send it to them. So, that’s going to be a big help to us.”

Meyers said that he also had a chance to see Caroll County’s NG911 phone system to see what he should expect.

“Carroll County has their system put in and running. They had some issues at first, but they are having their 911 calls come in now,” Meyers said. “I’m excited. Everything is on track finally, and now we will be able to have ours up and running soon. It will be a change and we will have to learn some new stuff, but it is for the best. This will make things easier on everyone in the county once we learn how everything goes.”

According to the National 911 Program, the success and reliability of 911 will be greatly improved with the implementation of NG911. The system will improve the ability to help manage call overload, natural disasters and transferring of 911 calls and proper jurisdictional responses based on location tracking. Most 911 systems were built using analog rather than digital technologies, and public safety answering points (PSAPs) across the country need to be upgraded to a digital or Internet Protocol (IP)-based 911 system, commonly referred to as the NG911 system. Data from the National 911 Program show that most places in the United States have implemented or are planning on using NG911 except for six states including West Virginia. The Ohio 911 Program Office is encouraging all Buckeye State counties to make the switch to NG911.

The next Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the courthouse in Cadiz.