Moberly Police Department Upgrades 911 System

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MOBERLY - The Moberly Police Department's upgraded 911 system is now in use.

The 911 center is the point of communication between people with emergencies and the responding officers. According to police chief Russell Tarr, the department was running into issues with broken, worn out equipment. In many cases, the pieces needed to fix that equipment were obsolete and very difficult to find. Tarr said upgrading the system would be more efficient than trying to replace those parts.

One of the biggest changes to the 911 system is a new GPS system. It has upgraded mapping features that help the communications personnel direct police or other responding agencies directly to the scene of the emergency. Tarr said the feature could improve the time it takes for authorities to reach someone in trouble.

"If for some reason part of the roads are blocked or they have difficulty navigating to them, then our communications personnel can look at those mapping features, and tell the responding agencies perhaps a better route to approach and get those folks to the emergency in that area quicker," Tarr said.

Randolph County Sheriff Mark Nichols said about 80 percent of the calls they receive are made by cell phone. He said the enhanced system will especially help deputies that respond to those calls.

"Since there is not an address attached to that and that they are mobile and in the county, the new enhanced system will not necessarily pinpoint the location of the phone, but it will put it in a very, very close general proximity, which gets us closer to the caller and can speed up our response times," Nichols said.

Tarr said the new system has potential to be upgraded as well. In the future, people will be able to text into the system.

The department is also working to develop blueprints of buildings, including the schools, the power plant and the prison in case of an emergency at one of those locations. Tarr said this will allow responding agencies to pinpoint the exact location of the emergency.

Tarr said overall, these upgrades help maintain efficient communication between agencies and those in need of assistance.

"We have to be able to communicate with different law enforcement agencies, EMS, fire departments and other agencies that maybe coming through our jurisdiction. If we don't have the communication factor in place were missing out on information, resources and also at risk of disserving people in our community," Tarr said.

According to Tarr, these upgrades cost a little more than $190,000. The system services all of Randolph County.