Soon that will no longer be the case for residents of Izard County. The Izard County Sheriff's Department announced Aug. 25 that AT&T employees are installing enhanced 9-1-1 equipment. A grant from the state of Arkansas made the equipment possible so that Izard County will only have to pay sales tax on the $100,000 equipment.
"This equipment will allow us to put in place an advanced 9-1-1 system for cell phones," Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said.
When the new equipment is operational, dispatchers will be able to locate emergency cell phone calls. Those who use newer cell phones will be tracked using exact GPS coordinates. Those who have older cell phones will be found with cell tower triangulation, which provides the general location of the caller.
It is expected that this equipment will provide faster response time from law enforcement, fire departments and emergency medical personnel.
"I think it will take away much of the guess work emergency personnel and law enforcement officers have to do to find callers," Lawrence said.
Though the equipment will be used for cell phone callers only, it is in the hands of the voters of Izard County to decide to extend the service to hard line connections.
"It's so much better than what we've had," Lawrence said.
"Izard County is one of two counties in Arkansas not having total enhanced capability for cell phones and hard line phones. A total system would maximize citizen safety and is greatly needed," Lawrence said.
According to the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, the department has had an operational enhanced 9-1-1 system since January 2008.
Sharp County has also been working on an enhanced 9-1-1 system, which will be operational in about two weeks.