Supervisors opt to keep 911 dispatch in the county

By DEMETRIUS THOMPSON,

The Newton County Board of Supervisors voted to keep the county’s 911 dispatch operation inside the county at their first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday, Jan. 2.

At their Dec. 21 meeting, the county had considered outsourcing  the 911 dispatch to Neshoba or Lauderdale counties instead of making needed upgrades to the equipment at the 911 office at the county courthouse.

Board President Joe Alexander said the board wanted to keep the 911 service local and that they hope it will save the county money in the long run.

At the Dec. 21 meeting county EMA Director Brian Taylor presented quotes from telecommunication companies, Motorola, Jackson Communications and ComSouth to upgrade the 911 office equipment, including the radios, antennas and mapping system.

ComSouth’s five-year contract with maintenance support would be $644,477.08 and a 10-year contract with maintenance support would be $787,527.08.

Motorola and Jackson Communications partnership would be $644,697.90 for a five-year contract and 10-year contract would be $847,975.76.

Taylor said he was relieved with the board’s decision and he was glad the county’s dispatchers will get to keep their jobs.

“We have eight fulltime dispatchers and anywhere from five to seven part-time dispatchers at any given time,” Taylor said. “So, it’s going to give eight full time dispatchers a job and that’s pretty major.”

Taylor also said that keeping the 911 dispatch service local will benefit first responders.

“Our dispatchers know our county like the back of their hands. All of our dispatchers live in Newton County. That personalization that goes along with having your dispatchers in your county goes a long way,” Taylor said. “The camaraderie that they have with the sheriff’s department and our fire department they all know these dispatchers and they trust them. They know that they’ll have their back and they’ll get them the help that they need. Not saying that another county wouldn’t take care of us and take care of our needs, but it helps to know the people that you work with and to know that they’re hometown people.”

The supervisors could award a bid for the upgrade later this month.