- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Hinds County Emergency Management Director Rickey Moore says the county’s emergency communications system is obsolete and the county doesn’t have the money to purchase a new system.

Moore’s suggestion is for the state to take over its $16 million 911 system.

The board of supervisors this week delayed action on Moore’s proposal.

Jackson and Hinds County are part of the same system. Marshand Crisler, a city administrative official, told The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/1Im5q0e ) a recommendation will be given to Mayor Tony Yarber about now to proceed.

Supervisor Robert Graham said the state system is geared toward communications near interstates. He said it may not allow communications among emergency personnel inside many buildings, which he said could place police officers and firefighters in danger.

Supervisor Peggy Hobson Calhoun said the county’s current system could crash at any time and citizens won’t be able to dial 911 for help and would have to dial an emergency agency directly.

The proposed agreement between Hinds County and the Mississippi Wireless Communications Commission says the county shall have the right to use the frequencies licensed to the state and the WCC for the Mississippi Wireless Information Network.

Hinds County still owes $1.6 million on its 911 system and still will have to pay the money whether the county becomes part of the state system. The county’s E911 Fund is supposed to pay for emergency communications equipment. It’s a $1 surcharge on landline phone service, but with more people using cellphones instead of landlines, the fund is no longer bringing in the needed revenue.

Moore said the state will invest $5 million in upgrading the county’s radio towers.

“The constant system failure is what’s pushing this,” Moore said of reason for wanting the state to take over the system. “We have to get out of this system we are in in the near future.”

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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