Commissioners: New Rates Could Get More Agencies To Join Rogers County Call Center

Monday, May 5th 2014, 6:04 pm
By: Craig Day

Rogers County Commissioners signed off on a rate structure plan for agencies that could join the new countywide enhanced 911 system.

Commissioners said it's the latest step in moving toward a better, top notch facility but the Sheriff totally disagrees, saying Monday's action is just a step toward funding a faulty product.

Rogers County Commissioners approved the various amounts emergency agencies would pay to be a part of the enhanced 911 system, totaling $785,000 annually. The rates were recommended by the E-911 trust authority.

4/25/2014 Related Story: First Responders Call Rogers County 911 Call Center ‘$2 Million Failure'

Rogers County Commissioner, Kirt Thacker said, "Now they'll have to go back to their respective boards and get them approved to decide whether or not they're going to join the 911 center."

Of the 22 public safety agencies in the county, only a handful are dispatched from the center now. Thacker thinks setting rates will now lead to more agencies joining.

"I don't think they'll all join, but I believe the majority of them will, and I think once they join and they're dispatched for a while, and they see that it's a better quality product, I think they'll be happy with it," he said.

Sheriff Scott Walton, whose agency is already part of the new system, is not happy with it.

"Today we had a meeting to find an unsuccessful way, to fund an unsuccessful program," Walton said.

Walton said since it opened in January, he's seen cases of dispatchers losing track of deputies' locations and deputies not getting enough detailed information when they're going on calls.

"There's an infrastructure problem, there's a funding problem, and more than anything, there's an administrative problem," said Walton.

Walton said it's liability ridden and dangerous.

"Some of them have been blown out of proportion a little bit, but the director has taken responsibility for those issues and addressed them all," Thacker said.

He said the dispatchers and directors are continually working to create a top notch facility.

"Our goal is 100 percent, zero mistakes, but I don't know if that's achievable but that's what we're shooting for," Thacker said.

Walton said, "We've got a life threatening product right now."

Annual expenses for the E-911 center in Rogers County are expected to be about $1.1 million.