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If you read my “Message” on MageeNews earlier today, you know I am on a rant and tear about the E-911 system for the city of Magee.
Our E-911 system consists of a desk phone….I mean one of those type phones no one uses anymore!
The phone does not have a hold, transfer, or mute button. If a dispatcher receives a 911 call, they have to keep the caller on the line as they attempt to contact police and fire. I also learned, that if a E911 call is a “hang up” call, the police still have to investigate the call and find out where the call came from. (How they find an address is beyond me…but they succeed).
At the Tuesday, February 19, 2019, Board of Aldermen meeting, Mayor Dale Berry gave the impression that the problem lies with the supervisors. That is not what Dale meant to say but it is what he said. (I’ve found myself in that spot before and trying to explain what you meant to say isn’t easy!—people do not forgive easily.)
Charlie Valadie, Fire Marshal, explained that the system we have now will adversely affect our fire/emergency rating. About six years ago, we had the E 911 system that provided a screen that brought up the number with the address of the caller. The system worked great! Under Sheriff Kenneth Lewis, the system was changed to a call center at the E 911 office and Sheriff’s office, I believe. Rankin County became the hub for emergency calls and were then dispatched to our areas in the county. I do believe this was supposed to be a money saving service. But like a lot of money saving ideas, they don’t always work.
As citizens, we pay a tax on our house phones and cell phones with the money to be used for emergency management. What I want to know is who gets my phone tax money? I live in the city of Magee and want Magee to receive those dollars. I don’t think I have any say so in the matter.
Supervisor Danny Craft was hit hard by his constituents wanting to know what the deal is! Well, Danny also wants to know “what is the deal.” Danny was not aware of the present practice with E 911 and he wants answers. Danny was blind-sided by this information and immediately began to seek answers.
A meeting was held at City Hall Wednesday morning. Mayor Dale Berry, Charlie Valadie, Randy Crawford, Joe Worrell, Lane Steele, Danny Craft, Pat Brown, Patrice Boykin, and myself attended the meeting. Mayor Berry and Danny decided how to handle their differences. Lane Steele repeated that no ill intention was meant by bringing the problem to light. Where we are now is working out a solution to our E911 system.
I don’t imagine everything is “peaches” in Mendenhall among the board members…but hey, let’s get this worked out. If money is needed, find it! We cannot operate under this type system any longer.
On a side note: I was so impressed with how our dispatchers are handling the hand they have been dealt. Those girls have figured out how to make the system work the best it can. That my friends is the problem! You can’t make this system work for the best of our community.