LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Miss (WTOK) - By this time next year response times for emergency responders in Lauderdale County will likely have improved. That's because of a new state-of-the art computer aided dispatch system that's currently being installed. This is part of a two year effort that is coming to an end.
The new system will allow officers to have information about the location, problem and those involved at their fingertips on a laptop in their vehicle.
"So, rather than relying on potential human error where dispatchers have to relay a long string of numbers and letters, it will instead put that in the view of the officer," says Lauderdale County E-911 Coordinator, Jared Stanley.
Ultimately, he says the new system will likely improve response times.
Officers with the Meridian Police Department have designated areas where they patrol. The new system will provide a tracking type service for officers' vehicles. As part of the new service, when a 911 call is made the officer who is closest to the scene will be sent to it. Under the current system the MPD officer who is working in that particular zone is the first to be called.
The new system is set to launch in Lauderdale County in April 2018. As for now, emergency responders say there is one way that we can all help improve the process.
Many people are expected to put up holiday decorations, but emergency responders are asking residents not to put anything up that will cover their home's address. That's because officials say this can hinder the emergency response when time matters most.
"We know where we're going, but that address is very important to make sure that we get to the right house because that fire or smoke might not be coming out of the windows or anything," says Fire Prevention Specialist, Rachel Foy with the Meridian Fire Department.
"The best thing that we can ever ask the public to do is to always know where they are," says Stanley. "As long as we know where you are, we can get help to you no matter what the situation may be."
Lauderdale County's current E-911 system is decades old. The one that is being installed is used in other parts of the country. However, Lauderdale County will be the first place in Mississippi to use it. The price for the new system is just over $1 million. The City of Meridian, Town of Marion and Lauderdale County at large are sharing the cost.