In an effort to better serve the public, Kosciusko County Commissioners heard of a new 911 service Tuesday.
Called Smart 911, the service is a national database providing more information than a regular 911 call.
The cost of the service is $12,000 a year, with a $3,000 implementation fee the first year. David Rosenberry, director of Kosciusko 911 Communications Service, said he has the funds, if the new service is approved. Rosenberry said Kosciusko County has always been on the leading edge of technology and this service keeps “coming to the forefront.” Several Indiana counties, including Delaware and Porter, already have the service.
Currently, cellphone calls can only detect a cell tower’s location and the cellphone number only. With Smart 911 service, dispatchers can get all the information provided by callers. Callers must first register their information beforehand into a national database. At the time a 911 call comes through, dispatchers can access all of the caller’s information, such as medical issues or disabilities.
Smart 911 is a secure online service where one can register any telephone number, either land line or cellular. Smart 911 helps people with 70 percent of cellphone calls, said Andrew Gutteridge, regional sales director of Rave Mobile Safety. It also assists those who can’t speak to a dispatcher or people who can’t speak English, such as Hispanics.
“It helps, but there’s a gap,” said commissioner Ron Truex.
“It’s another piece of the puzzle,” added Rosenberry.
With some hesitation, commissioners decided to first take a look at the 911 budget before making a decision. They also want to contact some of the counties currently using the service to see if the service is efficient and is being used.
An amended zoning request for Nifong Farms Holdings from agriculture to agriculture II was approved. The property in question is 8.9 acres and is situated off CR 200 North. Area Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval for the rezoning at its May 7 meeting. While Truex said he generally opposes agriculture II, he decided this is a good compromise since there are already 15 houses near the farm’s property. While Truex said this is a “rare case” he said he supports this particular rezoning and the petition was approved.
Also, an ordinance amendment regarding communication towers was approved. Some of the verbiage was changed in the ordinance, such as a 6-mile separation between towers, now a 2-mile separation because with new data, towers need to be closer. Towers must be deemed “essential services” and meet setback requirements.
In highway news, “no semi trucks” signs were approved for a portion of Ferguson Road on CR 200S, south to east of SR 15 and CR 200 South between SR 15 and SR 25. Semi drivers who use those roads will face penalties.
Also, the highway department was given permission to advertise for two single-axle dump trucks. Bids will be opened at 9:15 a.m. June 17, at the commissioners meeting.
A joint commissioners and county council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday. The next regular commissioners meeting is at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 3, at the county courthouse in Warsaw.