New regional 911 center prepares to open - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

New regional 911 center prepares to open

A new regional 911 center is about to open to handle emergency calls in three south Georgia counties. (Source: WALB) A new regional 911 center is about to open to handle emergency calls in three south Georgia counties. (Source: WALB)
A temporary center is in the works right now behind the Blakely city Hall. (Source: WALB) A temporary center is in the works right now behind the Blakely city Hall. (Source: WALB)
Now, the center there is just a month away from opening. (Source: WALB) Now, the center there is just a month away from opening. (Source: WALB)
County Manager Franklin Etheridge (Source: WALB) County Manager Franklin Etheridge (Source: WALB)
City of Blakely Technology Director Jason Gauntt (Source: WALB) City of Blakely Technology Director Jason Gauntt (Source: WALB)
EARLY CO., GA (WALB) -

A new regional 911 center is about to open to handle emergency calls in three south Georgia counties.

Randolph County had been looking for a new 911 center when things fell through with the center in Albany, and Early County came to the rescue. 

Now, the center there is just a month away from opening. 

911 response times in Randolph County have left some residents upset.

They had been with the Lower Chattahoochee Regional 911 Center since 2006, but county commissioners felt it was time for something new. 

"They do a reasonable job. It's just they were supposed to have a cad system with the 911 center and it still doesn't exist at this point in time," said County Manager Franklin Etheridge.

Plans to join the Albany 911 Center fell through and the county was left to look for another option that would not only benefit residents but also the budget.

Over in Early County, the 911 center had been under the control of the Sheriff's Office for some time, but that 911 center is now moving to a department under the city of Blakely. 

With the move and new management, organizers felt the center would work best as a regional one. 

"We feel we work better together rather than as one so we reached out to some other county to create what we call a regional 911 center," said City of Blakely Technology Director Jason Gauntt.

That's when Randolph and Stewart County jumped on board.

"We just felt with what Early was proposing and what they were doing was a better fit for us. We are hoping some of the confusion about where folks were dispatched will be resolved," said Etheridge.

A temporary center is in the works right now behind the Blakely city Hall. 

Gauntt hopes residents will be happy with quicker service. 

"We hope that we will provide a better service than is currently being offered today," explained Gauntt.

An assistant director recently began working and starting on Monday, the new 911 director will join him. 

As for Randolph County, the county will save close to $150,000 over the next five years by signing on.

The building is just temporary, they hope after one year, they will move to a newer and larger building. 

An exact start date for the surrounding counties will be announced shortly. 

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