County switches over to new 911 system with no glitches

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Apr. 6, 2007 - At noon Thursday, Hopkins County Sheriff's Office began using a new $83,000 emergency 911 system installed by Ark-Tex Council of Governments using funds allocated for that purpose.

Staff photo by Angela Pitts

Hopkins County Sheriff's Communications Supervisor Ron Lowrie tries out the new 911 call system on a test call Thursday at noon, when the new program was launched.  The $83,000 system was installed with funds allocated at the state level to Ark-Tex Council of Governments.

The Vesta Pallas system replaces one that outlasted its expected lifespan by about 2 1/2 years. The old system was installed in 2000, and the normal expected life use for such computer systems is five years, according to ATCOG 911 Program Manager Sandie Embrey.

The installation process began in mid-March. Aside from a few glitches, the program was up and running Thursday with little difficulty. 

In a nutshell, the "new system does everything the old system would do."

"It does the same thing but better, for a new generation of technology," Embrey said. "We try to keep as up to date as possible."

ATCOG will also pay for maintaining the system annually, generally a rate between $60,000 and $70,000 a year for a system like the one installed at HCSO.

ATCOG is installing new 911 systems in the nine counties it serves .Embrey said the same system was put in place in emergency communications centers in Cass County, New Boston and Paris Police Department, and there have been no serious problems to date.

Sulphur Springs Police Department is next on ATCOG's equipment installation list, then they'll move on to Franklin and Delta counties and Clarksville.

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