TANEY COUNTY, Mo. – Technology used to operate 911 services across the Ozarks is being phased out and several local counties are banding together to lower the cost of a solution.
The counties being impacted by the change include: Taney, Stone, Barry, Christian, Dallas and Dade.
“[The technology] is at, ‘end of life,’ says Taney County 911 administrator, Tammy Hagler, “is what we’re terming it.”
Hagler says the hardware and the software being utilized by those counties stems from the mid-1990s. She says the pending switch will be similar from going from 25 year old hardware to cloud technology in 2017.
“We’ve gone in together to buy hardware and software together to save for all of us,” she says, “and it’s going to be a considerable savings.”
Hagler says if Taney County had to do the upgrades on its own, it would cost in the neighborhood of a million dollars. By working together with the five other counties, and purchasing together through service provider Century Link, the cost is expected to be around $300,000.
Annual operation and maintenance costs are expected to decrease as well.
“We’re going to have to switch to something and this was our best bet for all of us,” says Dallas County 911 executive director, Joe Bright.
Bright says cost savings are of the utmost importance due to declining revenues for 911 centers as a result of declining landline phone use. Missouri is also the only state in the nation without a 911-related tax on cell phones.
Bright also says upgrading to the new system will also include more protection for the counties going forward. For instance, there are steps that can be taken if a dispatch center is damaged during a natural disaster.
“I could take one of my dispatchers and send them to Christian or Barry County,” he says, “and be able to set up down there, and bring up all of Dallas County’s information and work out of their center.”
The new system will also feature text to 911.
Hagler says the multi-county agreement will also leave the possibility of additional cost saving on down the road.
“Other counties could add into this and it could further lower our cost… on a monthly and yearly basis,” she says.
Taney County is expected to install the new system sometime in 2018.