Consolidated E911 dispatch center near completion

Published 12:50 am Wednesday, April 26, 2017


NATCHEZ — All of the 911 equipment is up and running, and only some cosmetic changes remain to bring the newly merged emergency dispatch center to 100 percent completion.

Adams County Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford said by the middle of May he anticipated all the cosmetic changes would be finalized. Bradford said the remaining work includes installing sound boards to clear the echo from the room, television monitors and lockers.

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“It is coming together and going well,” Bradford said. “Of course anytime you have a start up, you will have bugs, but the dispatchers have been fast learners — very fast learners.”

Adams County E911 Dispatch Supervisor Catherine Latham said the transition has only had minor bugs. For example, the dispatch center has moved away from 10-codes and sometimes officers, deputies and dispatchers still use them. The dispatch now utilizes plain talk, she said.

“We are getting away from 10 and delta codes so we can be of one accord between police, deputies and the fire department,” Latham said. “Besides that, some officers and deputies haven’t adjusted to calling us Adams County E911 Dispatch. That would be about it — just minor things.”

Latham said a transition has occurred for those who worked with the police department and have to familiarize themselves with the sheriff’s office, and vice versa, but that the dispatchers have adapted well.

“We have not had to do any extensive training,” Latham said. “They have really jelled well.”

Beginning her career as a dispatcher at Natchez Police Department in 1999, Latham said she has enjoyed this move to director.

“It’s been a smooth transition for me,” Latham said. “I’m excited I get to supervise so many dispatchers I’ve worked with and gotten to know over the years. It is just like a family, and we are still serving the same people, Adams County.”

Both Latham and Bradford asked residents to call 911 for any issue that would concern law enforcing or firefighting — it does not have to be a serious emergency. In the past, the sheriff’s office and police department have had non-emergency lines, but Latham said to dial 911 instead.

“We will take any call,” Latham said. “It used to be don’t call unless it is a serious emergency. But this center is for talking calls, and we encourage people to do that. We have multiple lines.”

Adams County E911 utilizes four shifts with three dispatchers.

Latham said for anonymous tips to law enforcement investigators call the Crime Stoppers number 601-442-5000.

Bradford said he would like to thank the E911 board for working hard to make this transition successful.

“They have really come together to make this happen,” Bradford said. “I know they have a lot to do in their civilian lives. But the board members have really been dedicated.”

Once all the changes are finalized, Bradford said he would like to have an open house with city and county leaders sometime in mid-May, which would serve as a grand opening.

“We’d like to do a little dedication to establish the Adams County E911 dispatch center,” Bradford said. “We are looking forward to it.”