Izard County has approved the adoption of wireless 9-1-1 enhancements to be operational within four to six months, at no cost to the taxpayers. In the implementation of an enhanced 9-1-1 system, the wireless portion is the first phase, according to Izard County authorities.
According to Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence, 60-80 percent of all emergency calls are made by cell phone.
Lawrence said the system will provide the exact location of the caller whose cell phone has a global positioning chip in the phone and that all newer phones have this chip.
The location of callers with older phones without the technology will still be available, although determined in a more general area by way of cell phone tower triangulation.
Sheriff Lawrence and Izard County Judge Rayburn Finley met with David Strickland of the Arkansas State 9-1-1 Board to discuss the issue.
After the meeting Finley authorized Lawrence to proceed with paperwork, which he then presented to the Izard County Quorum Court at the April 14 special meeting. The quorum court unanimously approved the enhancement.
The funding for the project will be received through a grant for the necessary equipment. Cost of the equipment is approximately $100,000 and will also provide the maintenance expense of operating the equipment and dispatcher salaries up to $30,000 a year.
The new system will be installed in the Izard County Detention Facility and will only require minor adjustments to the facility to accommodate. The system will not hinder, but in fact will complement the efforts of Izard County Assessor Tammy Sanders and Office of Emergency Management Director Dennis Williams for a landline enhanced system.
"This project not only provides 9-1-1 wireless emergency capability but also places us in a better position to go to a 9-1-1 landline system in the future," Finley said.
The county is currently in the process of mapping and addressing the entire county, which is necessary for a landline emergency system.
For more information on the new system contact Lawrence at 870-368-4203.
"This project is one of many recently undertaken that will move Izard County into the 21st century," Izard County Justice Ken Ballman said.