Dispatch don’t need to be separated

Published 12:05 am Thursday, October 23, 2014

Adams County plans to take a costly step in the right direction in the name of public safety by finally allowing the county sheriff’s office to seamlessly communicate with 911 dispatchers and the Natchez Police Department.

The issue of inter-departmental communication has been a topic of discussion for more than 13 years. Former Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell first brought up the matter, to our knowledge, shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The terror attacks led first responders to realize just how crippled various agencies became when they could not easily communicate with one another.

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Locally, for decades, 911 calls from unincorporated parts of Adams County are transferred to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office through a manual system. In the transfer, vital call information is dropped and calls are not recorded.

In an effort to temporarily patch the broken system, the E911 board will purchase equipment that will digitally connect the two agencies. The cost is more than $227,000.

That’s a great step in the right direction, one that could potentially mean the difference between life and death.

Ultimately, however, joining forces and unifying dispatching services is needed.

The city and county could easily use the potential savings to either refund money to city and county taxpayers or use the savings to put more law enforcement officers on patrol rather than behind a dispatching microphone.