The Montezuma County Commission has approved a major overhaul to the county’s outdated 911 emergency call system.
Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane and communications supervisor Lori Johnson were granted approval to replace the old setup in place since 2005.
“The system we have now is really inadequate,” Lane said. “When it goes down, all calls are routed to Durango, and that causes delays in response to emergencies.”
Maintaining the outdated unit is also problematic because it is in Beta format.
“The technicians are not trained to deal with the older systems,” Johnson said, adding that the advanced model will allow for quicker repairs when there are problems.
CenturyLink provides the 911 service, but the equipment is handled by local government, and is paid for by phone customers.
A 70-cent surcharge on land line and cell phone pays for 911 services. The $600,000 fund is held by the county, and the fees generate $125,000 per year to help pay for dispatchers. The county is considering raising the amount to 90 cents but must get all municipalities to sign off on the increase.
The new 911 equipment is expected to cost $312,000, Lane said. It will be installed and operational in the fall.
“The county is the biggest contributor to the fund, and it is needed for the safety of the entire community,” remarked Sheriff Dennis Spruell.