The grant will enhance service in 14 counties and allow St. Clair, Cedar, Hickory, Ozark, and Douglas counties to improve answering services and implement text-to-911 services. These counties currently operate without answering equipment, requiring call-takers to gather important information from citizens over the phone. The grant will equip two four-county regions with the technology to locate callers and accept text messages.
According to the board, more than 99 percent of Americans benefit from these location services, while 16 Missouri counties do not.
“These are the services that save lives,” Missouri 911 Directors Association President Mike Phillips said. “It’s been 20 years since we’ve seen any of these 16 Missouri counties move up in their service levels.”
“As a former sheriff, I have seen firsthand the lifesaving wonders of our emergency medical professionals and how important it is that we do everything we can to support them,” Parson said.
Polk County, where Parson served as sheriff, is working to create a multi-county network. The project will connect Cedar, Hickory, St. Clair, and Polk counties through an Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet), allowing them to share information and transfer callers to a pool of call-takers. A similar project connecting Wright, Howell, Ozark, and Douglas counties is also in the works, with a possible statewide system a possibility in the future.
The grant program began last spring and has awarded $2.8 million to 26 counties over its three cycles. The projects have focused on 911 service modernization and efficiency. The next grant and loan cycle is due to begin this spring.