The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

June 18, 2014

Major County gets enhanced 911 service

ENID, Okla. — After nearly two years of work, Major County residents now have enhanced 911 service.

Calls made to 911 in Major County will be answered at the 911 Center at Enid Police Department, then forward to a dispatcher in Major County who will dispatch the appropriate agency.

In enhanced 911, or E911, the caller’s telephone number and physical address automatically are provided to the dispatcher.

“There is a lot entailed to it,” said Major County 911 coordinator Tresa Lacky. “It’s not just flipping a switch.”

Major County Sheriff Steve Randolph said there had been talk since 2007, when he took over as sheriff, to incorporate his county’s 911 service with another county.

“We knew the equipment would be way too expensive,” he said, noting it was known a partnership with another county would be needed.

In October 2012, Major County signed inter/local agreement with the Enid and Garfield County 911 Center. Major County provides the 911 funds it collects and contributes to what now is the Enid, Garfield County and Major County 911 Center.

EPD Lt. Ryan Singleton said as more residents migrate to cellphones from landlines, the more funds the 911 Center loses.

“You don’t get as much revenue from cellphones (911 fees) as you do landlines,” he said. “We were looking to boost revenues. Expanding and becoming a regional 911 center was the most logical next step to take.”

Before enhanced 911 service would work for Major County maps, databases and other information had to be gathered for the system. This entailed naming county roads, mapping addresses to their numbers and hundreds of hours of inputting data.

“We spent the better part of two years on building the database,” Lacky said.

The database takes information, such as addresses and city limits, and is associated with a specific phone number. When that number calls 911, it is populated on a map, pinpointing the location of the call.

“If someone can’t talk, needs help but can’t say where they’re at, this will help,” Lacky said. “We’re going light years ahead of where we were.”

Randolph said he remembers a call the sheriff’s office took from a man who had driven off the road in the Gloss Mountains, but did not have any idea where he was.

“He just knew he was in a ravine,” Randolph said. “This will be able to let us pinpoint exactly where he is at within so many feet of where that call is coming from.”

The 911 calls received in Enid will use the system to provide the enhanced information. Those calls then will be forwarded to a dispatcher in Major County.

Randolph said each of the dispatchers from Major County spent a day in the 911 center in Enid to learn about the system.

Lacky said residents of the county used to dial a 10-digit number in an emergency before the change to E911 service.

She said there is a campaign under way to educate residents about using the 911 system.

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