Upgrades, new equipment coming to Ellis Co. dispatch center

ELLIS COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — At the Ellis County Communications Center, upgrades are needed for its equipment — such as the device that records 911 calls.

“That recorder is so out of date that the cassette tapes that are used to record it, they no longer make,” said Darin Myers, Ellis County Director of Fire and Emergency Management.

The center has only four cassette tapes left, until the recorder is no longer useable. In a couple of months, the communications center will be getting new equipment and upgrades to enhance their services.

“The communications center is a big piece for all emergency personnel in Ellis County. It’s our central hub for communications, for information, for calling or requesting for more resources,” said Myers. “It’s also the central hub for when everybody calls 911.”

In addition to a new recorder, the center will be getting new dispatch consoles, while the county’s backup communications tower will be getting an upgrade. Workers said they’re looking forward to the improvements.

“Anytime you’ve got better equipment, you’ve got better mapping, you’ve got better radios…you can do things you can’t do,” said Carolyn McCollum-Scantlin, Director of the Communications Center.

According to Myers, the project will all be funded by a statewide cell phone tax, implemented five years ago.

“We have just over $800,000 in reserves to help pay for all this equipment,” he said.

Officials will be meeting in early January to decide on a date to ship and test the new equipment. Myers said they’re hoping installation will start in mid-February.