Sarpy joins Douglas, Washington counties in 911 upgrades

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Posted: Monday, August 5, 2013 12:00 am

When Larry Lavelle started working in emergency services, 911 services depended on how well dispatchers knew streets and made sure callers gave accurate information.

Lavelle, who now serves as director of communications for Sarpy County, said it's now just as important to have the latest computer-aided dispatch software.

Sarpy County joined Douglas and Washington counties July 23 in a joint venture to allow the sharing of emergency information among all three jurisdictions.

“We want to be able to get this information out to the street faster and get those responders moving out faster,” Lavelle said.

The upgrade provides a network that runs across all three counties, which in return will allow for easy sharing of information and call transfers.

“All three counties have access to the same information at the same time,” Lavelle said.

An updated system also means more accurate calls to 911.

“If a call is misdirected through wireless 911, we can push it to any of our partners,” Lavelle said. “It's an added layer of redundancy and resilience.”

The new system provides reliability in that address verification services and updated maps will help pinpoint the origin of wireless calls.

The software total cost was split between the three counties with Douglas County holding the most licenses, then Sarpy and Washington counties.

The amount totaled $1,076,586. Sarpy County will pay $316,516.28.

However, that Sarpy County cost will be reduced by a number of licenses given to Douglas and Washington counties.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission also provided $230,492.23 to offset county costs, Hansen said.

Funding also included money from county funds and operating funds for the 911 center.

Dispatchers went through two sessions of four hour training in June to prepare for the upgrade.

“The end result of this is we're staying up with the technology,” Lavelle said.

“The product lines change, and we have to make sure we're staying a step up with the technology changes.”

As a result, the information reaches emergency responders, police and firefighters much faster.

“The enhancements we've done here in (computer-aided dispatch) provides us with better information whether in the front seat of the police car or the front seat of the fire truck,” Lavelle said.

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