Crawford County Central Dispatch will get digital upgrades
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
If one system is down, the other one will pick up. It’s basically computerizing the phone system.” – Crawford County Undersheriff Shawn M. Kraycs
Crawford County officials approved upgrades for Central Dispatch equipment, which will link communication with other dispatch centers in the region.
The Crawford Board of Commissioners, at its regular monthly meeting in December, agreed to purchase the Viper 911 System for Crawford County Dispatch.
The equipment costs between $70,000 and $75,000. It will be funded through the county’s foreclosure fund, which is funded when properties are sold by the county when property taxes go unpaid, said Crawford County Administrator Paul Compo.
Crawford County Undersheriff Shawn M. Kraycs said the Viper is a digital 911 call routing system, which will link to already established equipment in Grand Traverse, Roscommon, and Alpena counties.
“They’re the main hub and we can get the same services for a lot less cost,” Kraycs said.
Kraycs noted that Frontier Communications will no longer support copper wires used for emergency communications effective this summer.
“The old copper analog system is what’s going away,” Kraycs said.
The equipment will allow Crawford County and Oscoda County to tap into digital communication in Alpena.
The equipment will allow area residents and visitors to text 911 calls into the dispatch center. It will also provide backup and more reliable communication, if a system in one county cannot function properly.
“If one system is down, the other one will pick up,” Kraycs said. “It’s basically computerizing the phone system.”
The dispatch center has five full-time and two part-time employees.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office assumed operations of the Crawford County Central Dispatch in October, 2014.
Since then, the dispatch center has installed a computer aided dispatching system, which is connected with Roscommon to provide better and more reliable information to law enforcement and first responders. It has also virtually consolidated with Roscommon County to back each other up when there is a high volume of calls or an incident when more calls are coming into the dispatch centers.
More recently, the dispatch center upgraded its equipment so that an on-line digital reporting system can provide accurate information for police and first responders. The information can then automatically be plugged into following incident reports.
Kraycs said the new equipment will link all dispatch centers in the Michigan State Police and Homeland Security Region Seven, which covers all counties in the northern Lower Peninsula. That will prepare the region for a mass casualty incident, natural disaster, or a terrorist attack.
“This is the big one and the final step in the process to update our dispatch equipment,” Kraycs said. “We’re trying to connect all of Region Seven so that we’re all kind of resilient. If one goes, another one can pick up, just in case it’s needed. Since 9/11, it has created the need for us to be interconnected.”