Grayson County plans to open new 911 dispatch facility

By: Steven Powell Email
By: Steven Powell Email

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- County leaders are working on a new emergency communications dispatch center.

County leaders, like Sheriff Keith Gary, say conditions at the old center are "less than desirable."

"It's a very crowded place. We have four workers working in a very tight place," he said.

To get to the current communications center, you have to walk through the jail - something Sarah Somers, Office of Emergency Management director said can be dangerous.

"If you have a jail issue and have to lock down the jail, you also lock down your communications center. We've never felt comfortable with where the folks are," she said.

That's changing soon, as the County plans to finalize a purchase agreement on this empty building on Crockett and Lake Streets in Sherman. They also plan to buy new equipment.

"Our fear is, the equipment is at the manufacturer's life cycle. So it might be working today, but we don't know if it'll be working tomorrow," said County Judge Drue Bynum.

Bynum said Commissioners recently approved a project budget of $675,000.

"Which includes purchase of the building, renovations of the building, and necessary equipment to go forward," he said.

After the project is completed, the County will transfer the emergency communication operations from the Sheriff's office to the Office of Emergency Management to ensure the efficiency of 911 service.

"If 911 malfunctions suffers, it affects everyone in the county," he said.

Bynum also said it's easier to get grant money for emergency management than it is for law enforcement.

Somers said the move will help the department grow.

"We can do something I've dreamed of and the judges have dreamed of for some time, which is to co-locate the emergency operations center with the dispatch facility," she said.

Officials haven't set a finalized timeline for the project, but Bynum hopes to have it up and running by the first quarter of 2014.

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