Tech Updates

Ottawa County 911 getting major tech update

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WEST OLIVE — At its Tuesday, Aug. 14, meeting, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners approved a major generation update for the 911 Central Dispatch Authority.

The Central Dispatch Authority will begin switching its service lines from aging copper telephone wires to new, secure fiber optic cables.

“When 911 began in 1968, it became all landlines,” said Tim Smith, Central Dispatch executive director. “Today, we’ve got the same copper wires bringing calls to our 911 middle. With such many gadgets with cellular phones and smartphones, you can’t bypass all those facts through the copper.”

Smith stated the new fiber-optic community will now bypass a person’s genuine region, photographs, and films from the caller to a 911 dispatcher, then without delay into the patrol vehicle of a police officer heading to the emergency scene.

Suppose a person has video footage of a package deal stolen off their porch or a suspect breaking into their home. In that case, that video will now be available to the police officer responding to the decision.

Smith stated he’s especially enthusiastic about the enhanced place accuracy offerings this transfer will allow. If someone calls 911 from a landline cellphone, that dispatcher can pinpoint precisely which residence the caller is at. The same isn’t true for a person calling from a cell telephone. That’s much more commonplace.

“If you have a landline, it plots your property on the map,” Smith stated. “But the mobile phone is going to the nearest available mobile tower, and then it takes 20 seconds to triangulate your area. We can’t tell where you’re at. We have an idea, however, with the fiber cables that will offer us your precise longitude and range without delay to the dispatch middle.”

The investment for the switch from copper to fiber cables has been in the works since 2012. This year, a statewide 911 charge boom invoice was handed, changing the month-to-month fee Michiganders pay on their smartphone payments from 19 cents to twenty-five cents. The increase produces all Michigan 911 centers to get a new era.

At the same time, Ottawa County adjustments to fiber cables, the plan is to have Muskegon, Allegan, and Kent counties make a simultaneous transfer. Kent County has already authorized its resolution, and Allegan and Muskegon counties plan to accomplish that quickly. This is important, Smith said, because Muskegon and Allegan counties now and then percentage 911 offerings with Ottawa County.

“If Muskegon has overflow calls, they arrive in Ottawa County, and if we get crushed, they visit Allegan County,” Smith said. “This way, it’s deployed fully, and we flow Ottawa, Muskegon, and Allegan simultaneously.”

Peninsula Fiber Network NextGen 911 Services may supply the fiber optic cables and provide them to Central Dispatch. Smith said it would take an estimated 18 months for the infrastructure to be in the vicinity to transfer offerings over officially.

Over the remaining two years, Ottawa County Central Dispatch has gone through numerous technology updates. All in-vehicle computer systems for police officers were replaced with newer models and an updated software system. Because all law enforcement officials receive statistics from Central Dispatch countywide, the upgrades blanketed the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, Holland Police Department, Grand Haven Department of Public Safety, and Zeeland Police Department police cruisers.

Currently, the county is updating its emergency radio gadget. Following Allegan County’s current radio device improvement, the county will set up 2,000 new radios over the next months.

“There’s quite a few generation changes around right here,” Smith said. “The extra data we’ve got, the faster our dispatchers can get the proper oldsters out there to assist. We want to get help out to you as quickly as feasible.”

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