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July 19, 2007
New GPS units installed to improve response time
|Patrol cars are marked on the map with icons and corresponding officer number, which appear on the computer screen. Dispatchers can easily see the location of the units and the officer closet to an emergency call.|
GRAY, Georgia (STPNS) -- A recent addition to Jones County?s E-911 system will decrease the response time of law enforcement officers to emergency calls while increasing their safety in the field.
The recent installation of Global Positioning Units in the vehicles of Jones County deputies and the accompanying mapping system that is at the fingertips of the dispatchers at the Sheriff?s Department has made a huge difference in the way calls are handled.
Deputy Philip Green, who oversaw the installation of the system, said the equipment was installed and operational May 22, but he had been working on the process for more than a year.
He said the system involves GPS units in each patrol car and a small onboard computer, which transmits information to the Sheriff?s Office. Green said dispatchers have a map with a monitor that shows the location of every vehicle.
The deputy said the GPS units send a signal at intervals of 30 seconds, one minute, and two minutes, and the information is updated on the screen.
?The system cuts down on call time because dispatchers can see who is closest to the call. When a E-911 call is received, its location is automatically displayed on the screen,? Green said. ?That simplifies finding the closest deputy.?
He said the system allows better and more efficient coverage of the county by deputies.
Green said officers have to do nothing to the units in their cars to make the system work, and the unit is transmitting as long as the car is running. He added that the vehicle?s last location remains on the map.
Dispatchers see the patrol cars on the map as icons and the icons change when the vehicles? blue lights are engaged.
Major Barbara Burnette, the officer over the radio room at the Sheriff?s Office, called the system ?a wonderful thing?. She has a viewing screen at her desk and is able to see where every officer on duty is located at any given time.
Burnette said funds for the upgrade to the E-911 system were included in last year?s budget.
Sheriff Butch Reece said he considers the GPS system as safety for the public and law enforcement officers.
?It should obviously give us better response times, but it?s important to know where our officers are. If a deputy working at night hits a deer and flips his car, we would have had to search the whole county, but now we would know where he is,? Reece explained.
The sheriff said the system can tell if a patrol car is idling or exceeding the speed limit, and that information can hopefully help with conservation of fuel, which is a big budget item for the department.
He said the computer stores the data shown on the computer screen, and it is possible to trace the whereabouts of any officer for an entire week if necessary.
?If we receive a complaint, we will be able to look back at what happened,? Reece said. ?Sometimes we have people call to say an officer just passed their house. With this system we can tell them why.?
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