Editorial: Shared system would add safety net

Calls to the police don’t stop, even when a dispatch center has an emergency of its own, such as a fire or power outage.

Usually, emergency calls are sent to a dispatch center in another county, where they are mixed in with that county’s calls. But Johnson County 911 Executive Director Mike Watkins said nine central Indiana counties have found a way to separate those calls, get assistance to the residents faster and save money.

The Johnson County Commissioners are considering purchasing a phone system from AT&T that the county will share with other central Indiana counties.

If approved, the nine counties would pay a total of $25 million for the system over the next 10 years. Of that, Johnson County would pay $2.1 million throughout 10 years to install and maintain the equipment and train staff members, said Watkins. The county received a grant to pay for more than $300,000 of that cost, and the rest of the money will come from 911 fees, which are added to monthly cellphone and land-line phone bills.

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