- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - A new communications system being installed in Adams County will digitally connect the sheriff’s office and the Natchez Police Department.

Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford Jr. said the server for the $227,000 system will be placed in the basement of the Adams County Sheriff’s Office building, and will digitally connect the police and sheriff’s office dispatch centers.

The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1t8aOvy ) the new system is being funded from E911’s budget, and the savings could ultimately fund the hiring of two more county dispatchers.

The issue of consolidating dispatch services was raised earlier this year when county officials expressed concern volunteer fire departments outside the city limits weren’t being dispatched to fires before city fire department crews were.

The county’s fire protection agreement with the city requires a reduction in calls the Natchez Fire Department responds to outside the city limits over time or the county government faces financial penalties.

E911 board members said having two dispatch centers was inefficient because of lost time and communication between them.

Currently, all 911 calls are routed to the Natchez Police Department. If the emergency is outside the city limits, the police dispatcher transfers the call to the sheriff’s office dispatcher.

The problem, said Sheriff’s Department Maj. Billy Neely said, is the current system doesn’t record calls and other information once the transfer has been made. He said sheriff’s office dispatchers collect information from transferred calls by hand on a notepad.

Bradford said the new system would eliminate that problem, and would be able to tell the origination point of calls from cellular phones because it will track from which tower the call originated.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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