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Schuyler 911 dispatch upgrades equipment

WATKINS GLEN—Schuyler County’s 911 Dispatch Center is now operating with completely new, and improved, equipment.
Bill Kennedy, director of Schuyler County’s Emergency Management Services, said the whole dispatch center was gutted for the upgrade.  It not only got new equipment, but also a new ceiling, floor, lights, and ventilation.  He explained the equipment was no longer supported by the vendor and in general was old.  The new equipment takes up less space and is more compact.  Kennedy described the old equipment as “fragmented.”  He explained how all of the equipment was based around the phone.
Now, the same job is done with two touch screen monitors, even taking calls, and a computer hooked up to the Internet.  Kennedy said one improvement over the old equipment is that information is automatically received when someone calls in.  He explained that previously if the phone was not answered quick enough, dispatch might not get the number to call back.  Response time has not changed, but Kennedy said it is now easier for responders in the dispatch room.  Changes were also made so the desks can be made higher or lower.
Security was also improved.  Above the desks are many screens for security cameras.  They cover the courthouse building and the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls.
The work was started and completed from April to May, without any disruption in service.
“We never went down,” he said.
Kennedy said that operations were moved down into the basement of the county courthouse complex while work was done upstairs.  The dispatchers were then trained to use the new equipment.
The equipment will also make it easier to upgrade in the future.  Kennedy said they may need to replace screens or CPUs (central processing unit), but not the physical hardware.  He added that the equipment is now comparable to facilities in the surrounding area.
County Administrator Tim O’Hearn said that the new equipment was purchased using the 911 reserve fund generated by phone surcharges. 

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