Work Begins on Fenton Police Department Dispatch Upgrades
Construction is expect to be completed by the end of May.
Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro can remember when the Fenton Police Department was more "typewriters on crates" than state-of-the-art.
But by the end of May, the department will be equipped with the latest technology.
Crews have began installing the new look at the station's dispatch center, which will be extended six feet in a more modular design to allow for more room for dispatchers and to provide space for the new equipment.
Aro said the last major upgrade to the station came in 2001, before which a lot of equipment was set on a banquet table. That won't be the case when crews finish the overhaul this time around as all of the equipment will be next generation 911.
The equipment will allow people to contact 911 via cell phone text messaging, photographs, video and streaming video. The ability to text 911 could arrive around September 2012, depending on when the state implemements it.
"Texting has become so popular," Aro said. "Someone could be at the scene of a crime and send us a picture of a suspect's vehicle, which could be passed on to patrol vehicles."
The new equipment will also allow people to call 911 from their computer and give the police department the ability to locate cell phones during 911 calls.
The system cost (a bid not to exceed $253,127.05) came in under the $300,000 estimate and Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro proposed using the $40,000 remaining ifor bringing NG911 i3 — the next generation of 911 — to Fenton.
The station's lobby was closed Tuesday and early Wednesday during construction, but was expected to re-open Wednesday afternoon.