A new $115,067 state grant will enable the Whitley County E911 Center to modernize some of its radio equipment.
“Basically, our stuff is outdated,” E911 Director Jason Wilson said.
The office of 82nd Rep. Regina Bunch, R-Williamsburg, announced late Thursday afternoon that both Whitley and Laurel counties had been awarded competitive state grants aimed at improving 911 dispatch operations by Gov. Matt Bevin and the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS).
The grants, collectively totaling $252,635, are part of an effort to further modernize 911 call centers, making their processes more efficient and more adept to respond in emergency situations.
In Whitley County, $115,067 was awarded to the fiscal court in order to purchase new radio consoles, as well as to update other aging equipment.
Wilson said that the current consoles and related equipment are out-of-date and most of them were actually moved from the old courthouse to the current 911-center when it opened about nine years ago.
“If something goes down, our system is old and it is hard to get parts for. We are actually using spare parts our radio tech has,” Wilson noted.
Wilson said there is a process the county will have to go through to order the new equipment, which means it will be a few months until the new equipment arrives and can be installed.
The London-Laurel County 911 Communication Center Board was awarded $137,568 to replace outdated computer systems, among other technological improvements.
“We depend on our EMS and law enforcement officers to respond effectively and in a timely manner to emergency situations,” Bunch said. “This announcement is fantastic news for southeastern Kentucky, as it allows residents of our counties to better be served by our first responders under unfortunate circumstances. I commend the Office of Homeland Security for giving us the opportunity to make these improvements.”
An objective evaluation process was undergone in order to ensure that all grants were awarded based on where the need was greatest. This comprehensive peer review process involved gathering all appropriate documents, as well as analyzing and scoring each application.
The funds, totaling $3.6 million, were dispersed as part of the 2017 competitive grant cycle for the 911 call center project, representing a 50 percent increase over funds distributed in 2016.