Chatham County hires third party contractor for 911 director

Chatham County hires third party contractor for 911 director

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Chatham County is one step closer to taking over the 911 Center from the city of Savannah. The commission approved the contract for a temporary director Friday.

County leaders have been clear that their goal in taking over the center is to make it better. Whether it's facilities, customer-service, or efficiency, they want it all better.

Chances are when you call 911, the clock is ticking. Getting help, and getting it quickly is the most important thing. Starting Jan. 1, that responsibility will be the county's.

"We're going to improve. For instance, how many times the phones ring. You have to adopt standards. They have some standards but we want to be better," said Chatham County Manager, Lee Smith.

Whether that's quicker dispatch, less black holes for callers, or a better management, Smith said everything needs to improve. County leaders just received the suggested improvements for the 911 Center. Eventually, operations will move.

"Part of our thoughts right now is the existing 911 Center with improvements will actually be the backup center and the actual 911 Center will be in the new CEMA building at the airport," Smith said.

The county is already agreeing to pay almost $2 million to the city for the rest of 2018. The rest of this year will be spent untangling the crossover between city and county employees at the 911 Center. Smith said the experience with police and other agencies will help.

"We've been able to do that. We've been successful so I find it hard to believe we won't be successful with this," Smith said.

The official contract is for almost $20,000 per month with IXP Corporation. Smith said about half of that cost is for the personnel. The other half is for the consulting part.

There has been no timetable given for hiring a permanent director.

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