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August 2, 2013

Big Boost

Corbin, Whitley awarded more than $200K to upgrade 911 dispatch centers

CORBIN — By John L. Ross / Staff Writer

Whitley County and the city of Corbin got a “big boost” this week for their dispatch centers.

The Commercial Mobile Radio Service announced Tuesday that the county and city had been awarded more than $200,000 in grant funds to upgrade both 911 dispatch centers.

“I am thrilled that we received this grant money to upgrade our phone system,” said Chuck Davis, E-911 director. “The phone system is one of the most important parts of a dispatch center — and this money will allow Whitley County and Corbin to stay ahead of the 911 technology game.”

“The grant application was a joint effort between the city and the county,” according to a press release from Amber Owens, Whitley County director of projects. “Many hours of work, by Doug Price with the City of Corbin and Brittany Gray with Whitley Dispatch, went into preparing the application.”

Owens said she submitted the application in March

“I am very excited to begin this project,” said Judge/Executive Pat White Jr. “Our dispatch centers are the main line of contact between first responders and the public during an emergency situation.

“We want to make sure the dispatch center in both Corbin and Whitley County are equipped to handle any situation that may arise,” White added.

Owens said the current phone system is aging and is considered by the 911 community to be at the end of its life.

“This money will allow us to purchase new 911 phone systems for Whitley County and Corbin,” Davis said. “It will help improve the communication between our centers and with the public.”

The new system will allow the dispatch centers to be in compliance, according to Doug Price, chief dispatcher for Corbin.

“The state 911 plan is to modernize it into an IP-based (Internet Protocol) 911 system called ‘Next Generation 911,’ or NG-911,” Price said. “It will basically be a digital phone system for 911. Versus what we have now, the equipment we’ll get from this grant will enable us to take full advantage of the NG-911 technology as it develops.

“When the phone companies update their technology, we’ll be in full compliance,” Price added.

Corbin Mayor Willard McBurney was very pleased with the announcement.

“This will be a plus for Corbin and all of Whitley County,” McBurney said. “Without communication capabilities, our dispatch centers cannot function. This joint effort between city and county shows how great we can be if we work as a team.”

White offered thanks for several people who assisted in this project. “I want to thank all those that worked on this grant application,” he said. “Doug Price and Brittany Gray both worked tirelessly on this project and their dedication has not gone unnoticed. Corbin’s City Manager Marlon Sams also made this application process go much smoother by working with the county.”

Owens said work should begin in the fall — the deadline to sign contracts is Sept. 1.

After the contracts get signed, crews will begin installing the new system.

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