Ingham County residents will soon be paying higher phone fees for a new 911 system.
Voters approved a ballot measure that will take effect next summer.
The Ingham 911 Center is the hub for all public safety needs.
That means police, fire, and emergency services.
However according to fact sheets on the proposal, the current radio system being used is limited in the area it can cover and often delays communication between first responders and the 911 center.
Which is why officials say it was time for an upgrade.
The job of a 911 dispatcher can be difficult and waiting even just a few seconds to connect with a first responder can make it even tougher.
But thanks to Ingham County voters, these dispatchers will soon start using a new radio system.
One that could help emergency crews reach your door quicker.
“It offers us inter-operability that we don’t have today to be able to talk to our partners,” says 911 Systems Manager at Ingham County 911 Central Dispatch, Bruce Gaukel.
Gaukel says almost daily Ingham County dispatchers must contact boardering counties for mutual aid and it’s not an easy process.
Which is why most 911 centers in Michigan are turning to a state-wide radio system instead of one that’s specific to each county.
“It’s an officer safety issue, it’s a technology issue, and being able to service calls and respond to emergencies without communications being a barrier or any difficulty in that process,” says Gaukel.
It’s a $30 million project that’ll take a few years to fully implement.. but one that Gaukel says will help dispatchers pinpoint your location more accurately when dialing 911.
It will also help first responders get better service on radios while they’re in buildings.
69 out of Michigan’s 83 counties have already switched to the new statewide radio system.
We’re told this is a huge move for Ingham County and though it will cost residents about $1.80 a month per phone, it could make all the difference when saving a life.