911 Center needs software

February 25, 2014

Money needs to be found to upgrade the 911 Center’s software, ensuring that it better integrates with the new technology now being used by local law enforcement agencies.

It’s a tough financial pill for county commissioners to swallow, along with millions of other needed dollars to expend and a thin wallet in which to pull from, but swallow we believe they must, doing that which is necessary to ensure citizens have the best possible response from public safety officials.

Emergency Management director Ronald Bass recently presented those needs to commissioners, noting the importance of a software overhaul that would improve communications among agencies and, at the same time, shore up current record-keeping.

If able to use 911 funds to pay for the software upgrade, cost to the county would be less than $40,000. While that’s no small amount of change, it’s a far cry less expensive than some of the other needed expenditures and just as imperative. It’s to the county board’s credit that some of its members, like Bass, see the need and seem receptive to funding it in the 2014-15 budget.

Such a move would help elevate the 911 Center’s technology to a new plateau and would pave the way for greater benefit if, or when, Emergency Management Services and the county’s fire departments look to expand their own technology capabilities, putting everyone on an equal playing field and providing quality communication that will make service to residents second to none.

That’s particularly true now that the Clinton Police Department and the Sampson Sheriff’s Department have upgraded to high-tech systems that allow for GPS tracking of vehicles in real time, among many other capabilities, including great records management that allows finger-tip access to needed information.

“There is a lot of potential for growth here,” Bass told commissioners last week. “I think it’s a win-win for the 911 Center and law enforcement or other responders.”

And a win for them is a win for citizens, making it, in our estimation, a fiscally sound expenditure.

That Bass is also going the extra mile to see if there are grants available to help with the system’s purchase speaks volumes about how important he believes it is and how aware the director is to the county’s financial situation, understanding the need to get out ahead of the problem and find solutions that can benefit all those involved.

We applaud Bass for recognizing the need, providing solutions and working to help find financial fixes that will both ensure the 911 Center gets what it needs and the county spends as little money as possible.