Enhanced 911 service to be in place by 2022

(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / daisydaisy)

A 911 service that will propel Chatham-Kent police into the 21st century is projected to be launched by 2022.

Police Chief Gary Conn made the announcement on Tuesday as part of his report from the Police Services Board meeting at the Chatham-Kent police headquarters. He said the advanced 911 system will make it so calls will be received through a computer that will be capable of receiving a variety of alerts, including texts and video calls.

“The current system is old and antiquated,” said Conn. “We are moving into the 21st century and will no longer continue offering our traditional 911 after 2023.”

An overhaul of the current system will be completed with Komuntel, a telecommunications company operating out of St. Georges, Quebec.

According to Conn, the partnership will be solidified through a one-time capital cost of $149,587. In addition, there will be a yearly service fee of $24,698 which would be funded from a police “911 evolution network reserve.”

The department has been preparing for an updated system for a while, said Pat Weaver, the board’s chair.

“We knew that to continue to have the organizational structure we have with our own dispatch centre… this is just a necessary upgrade that we have to keep,” he said.

Jurisdictions across the country are switching to this new method of delivering 911, said Weaver.

The timetable for the new system includes voice compatible networks by June 2020, with real-time video and text capabilities by December 31, 2020, and the decommission of the legacy system by 2023.

Conn, however, said Chatham-Kent will start phasing out the current system one year early in 2022, in order to troubleshoot any problems that may arise with having a new system in place.