9-1-1 Board could be revived

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By Robin Bass

After a nearly 20-year hiatus, some local officials are looking to re-establish the Taylorsville-Spencer County 9-1-1 Board.

A proposal presented to fiscal court Monday suggested that a new board should encompass area department heads in law enforcement, fire and emergency services.

Elk Creek Magistrate John Riley, who has led the effort, said that better decisions could be made about future 9-1-1 services if the county utilizes the knowledge of these local professionals.

“We’re not qualified as a committee to make these decisions,” said Riley of himself and Waterford Magistrate Hobert Judd, who make up fiscal court’s Emergency Dispatch Services Advisory Committee. “The proper way is to have police, fire and EMS make those determinations and the best way to do that is to create a 9-1-1 board.”

Chief Nathan Nation, of the Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Protection District, said he remembers when the board was first established in the early 90s and that it disbanded after only a few years. Since then, Nation said the county’s 9-1-1 services have fallen behind recent technological advances.

“We’re the only county in (Kentucky State Police) Post 12 area that doesn’t have the capability to receive cell phone calls directly,” said Nation.

Cell phone calls to 9-1-1 in Spencer County are automatically sent to a dispatcher at KSP’s regional office in Frankfort and then transfered to a local dispatcher service. Nation recently fielded a complaint from one motorist who waited eight minutes for an emergency vehicle to respond to a car accident – all because, Nation said, the call was re-routed through Frankfort.

“We’re also putting our sheriff’s deputies and our police officers in grave danger by not having NCIC,” said Nation.

NCIC, which stands for National Crime Information Center, is a computerized system that enables law enforcement immediate access to criminal records, information about fugitives, stolen properties and missing persons. Currently, local law enforcement officers call in license plate or driver’s license numbers to Spencer County Dispatch, who in turns telephones KSP for criminal history.

The delay in getting that information could mean the difference between life and death for an officer, said Sheriff Steve Coulter. At the very least, it would expedite situations, such as carrying out warrants for an arrest.

Another technological advancement lacking in Spencer County is the use of Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) which can map the location of a 9-1-1 caller.

“Basically, we’ve made very little changes in the past 10 years,” said Nation. “And there hasn’t been an avenue to express that in the past.” Nation said he believes the creation of a 9-1-1 board would provide emergency services a collective voice to obtain not only the changes they need to do their job better, but to provide a better service to residents.

Taylorsville Mayor Don Pay said Friday that he agreed and plans to support the creation of a new board.

Riley’s motion to proceed drafting and negotiating an interlocal agreement to create a 9-1-1 board was met with mixed reactions Monday.

Taylorsville Magistrate David Henry said he also agreed with creating a 9-1-1 board, but was surprised by the draft proposal.

“I don’t feel like I’ve had any input,” said Henry.

The motion passed 3-2 with Henry and David Goodlett voting no.

Riley said that big decisions are ahead as fiscal court looks at re-evaluating the county’s dispatch service, including renegotiating the current contract or seeking other qualified candidates.

“This is something that’s going to take some work to finalize,” said Riley, “It’s something that’s going to take some time and time is not on our side.”

The current dispatch contract expires June 2010.