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New Montgomery 9-1-1 System to Include Texts, Photos

The 9-1-1 telephone system for the city of Montgomery and Montgomery County will be getting a significant upgrade with the purchase of technology valued at nearly $1 million.

During a special meeting, the Montgomery County Commission approved a purchase agreement with Emergency Call Works for over $906,000 that would include software, equipment, installation and management of a Next Generation Emergency 9-1-1 telephone system, which would have applications for both text, photo and video submissions, in addition to voice. The system will run through the Emergency Management Communications District Board.

"We teach our kids from an early age to dial 9-1-1, so we have to stay with the trends, we have to stay with technology and we have to be able to know that when someone dials 9-1-1, they are getting the services they need," Sheriff Derrick Cunningham said.

The total cost of the project will be split among the city and county, with Montgomery carrying 80 percent of the cost and the county carrying 20 percent of the cost. The county will also pay maintenance costs for five years.

Cunningham said the use of texts and photos could help law enforcement more by giving more information and knowing what to prepare for before arriving at the scene.

"It's good for us to be able to have that and let our citizens know we are doing the job," he said.

Larry Fisher, director of emergency communications for Montgomery, said what was most valuable about the system was how it served as a backup for each party involved.

"They share data and it's a simple matter of ensuring that we have backup for everything, just like we have backup power systems," Fisher said.

Fisher said the system would likely start running between August and October.

In addition, the commission approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the county, stating they would provide their respective costs.

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