County 911 deals with increase in call volume

Published 2:52 pm Monday, January 16, 2012

Technology has helped Chilton County’s 911 system handle an increased workload, but county officials may have to begin looking in other directions.

Chilton County 911 Director Dan Wright said his department’s workload has increased 40 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Wright said technology—such as improved mapping and laptops in police patrol cars—has helped 911 deal with the increase while operating with a relatively similar staff.

The laptops allow officers to update their statuses without a transmission over radio airwaves.

Traditionally, a 911 dispatcher would receive a call, relay the situation over the radio and then wait for the officer to acknowledge receipt of the call, confirm he or she had arrived on the scene and then relay any extra information.

With the laptops, there is no need for further conversation after the initial call because officers can perform the other updates electronically for lower priority calls.

“It makes us more efficient,” Wright said.

Improved digital mapping has also helped make 911 more efficient, Wright said, but technology is reaching its current limits in terms of how 911 can utilize it.

“We’re at a point now that the technology has gone as far as it can go to make us more efficient,” he said.

Chilton County 911 handled 110,525 calls in 2011, according to information provided by Wright.

Of those calls, 52 percent were dispatched to the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department, and 29 percent were dispatched to the Clanton Police Department—easily making those two the busiest agencies in the county.

Jemison worked 6 percent of the 911 calls, Maplesville 3 percent and Thorsby 2 percent.

Clanton Fire Department was the primary responder for 1 percent of the calls, while all other fire departments in the county combined to make up about 5 percent of the calls.