Communications & Dispatch, News

W.Va. City’s Board OKs New Dispatching System

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the Kanawha County Metro 911 governing board approved a new computerized dispatch system Wednesday.

Russell Emrick, technology director for the Metro 911 system, said installation of the $1 million system should start in January. “It’s a nine- to 12-month installation and training process,” he said.

Emergency officials have been wrangling over a new computerized dispatch system for months.

The final decision came down to two vendors who offered similar systems.

Emrick said the county was able to save about $300,000 on the cost of the system after Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper and county attorney Marc Slotnick convinced the vendors to negotiate over the final price tag.

The new system will be the most sophisticated in the state when completed, Emrick said. It will allow cross-referencing and communications not possible with the current 911 system, including being able to track emergency vehicles on computerized maps as they head to emergencies.

“We’ll be able to see where the ambulances are and where the police cars are, and get them to the emergency that much quicker,” he said.

The new system will also allow dispatchers to do several tasks on the computer at the same time. Currently tasks require two or three different devices.