It is the mission of Audrain County E-911 Joint Communications to provide the best quality, most cost-effective, public safety communications services available to the men and women of the law enforcement, fire, and ambulance services that we serve, as well as to all the citizens who rely on us each and every day to quickly and courteously answer their calls for emergency assistance.
In carrying out our mission, we recognize that service is our one and only product; that our most valuable resource is our employees; that we must strive to be a model professional public safety agency; and that our success is tied directly to the cooperation and teamwork of the public safety agencies serving Audrain County, Missouri.
What is Audrain County Joint Communications?
Audrain County Joint Communications is the primary public safety answering point (PSAP) for Audrain County, Missouri, and is responsible for handling incoming and outgoing communication from the public for assistance from law enforcement, fire, and medical personnel throughout Audrain County. Joint Communications is specifically responsible for receiving incoming 911 emergency telephone calls, and dispatching the appropriate personnel; receiving other non-emergency telephone calls and dispatching, routing, or otherwise transmitting those calls to the correct personnel; entering information into, and inquiring information from the Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement System (MULES) and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) crime databases; maintaining a detailed computerized log of requests received and dispatched; and keeping current on city and county geography, so that members may assist responding personnel in locating addresses.
Joint Communications is located at 1854 East Liberty Street in Vandiver Village, Missouri, and serves all of Audrain County for a coverage area of 697 square miles with a population of 25,500 people (2010 Census).
Staff includes 8 full-time Telecommunicators, 1 part-time Telecommunicators, 2 full-time Shift Supervisors, the Operations Manager, the Assistant 911 Director, and the 911 Director. There is a minimum of two telecommunicators on duty at all times to answer calls and coordinate communications.
Upgrades to the communications equipment and computer software were made when Mexico Public Safety Dispatch and Audrain County Sheriff’s Dispatch consolidated to form the Joint Communications Center in October 1999. These upgrades allowed for even better service to the county. At that time the Vandalia Police Department elected to continue to operate their communications center for the Vandalia Police Department, Vandalia Fire District, and Van-Far Ambulance District. Audrain County Joint Communications and Vandalia Communications acted as backup sites for each other, so if anything happened to one center there would be no disruption of service to the residents and visitors of Audrain County.
In February 2007, Joint Communications implemented an Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) program utilizing the protocol-based Medical Priority Dispatch System created by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch. This program allows dispatchers to quickly and accurately determine the nature of an emergency medical call and prioritize it to allow for the most appropriate response. Joint Communications’s dispatchers are trained to provide real-time instruction of CPR and other life-saving first aid while simultaneously dispatching Emergency Medical Service (EMS) professionals to the emergency. This reduces the time between the onset of symptoms and when basic aid is provided to the patient, thus increasing the patient’s chances of survival in life-threatening emergencies.
Another equipment upgrade was completed in March 2007. This upgrade included new 911 equipment and a new telephone and radio voice recorder. These upgrades were necessary to keep current with the latest technology available. With the new 911 system dispatchers have quicker access to a caller’s telephone and address data and it introduced a mapping system to automatically plot emergency calls on a map, allowing for a faster response by emergency personnel as dispatchers previously had to look up addresses on the map manually. The new 911 system also allows for upgrades to accommodate future telephone and communications technologies. The previous 911 system was unable to process telephone number and location information from cellular telephone calls, which created a problem in determining the location of an emergency if the caller is unable to speak. The new 911 system is compatible with cellular telephone and Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies, and these services will be added to the Audrain County E-911 system as they become available.
On February 15, 2008, Audrain County Joint Communications assumed the primary communications responsibilities for the Vandalia Police Department, Vandalia Fire District and Van-Far Ambulance District. Ralls County E-911 was designated as the backup PSAP for Audrain County Joint Communications so if anything were to happen to the Joint Communications Center there would be no disruption of service to the residents and visitors of Audrain County.
In August 2008, Joint Communications Director Chris Hardin began the process of implementing Phase II wireless service to the Audrain County E-911 system. This process was expected to take several months, but after Phase II wireless service was implemented Joint Communications would be able to locate a caller when they call 911 from a cellular telephone. Joint Communications became Wireless Phase II with AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular Wireless) on March 3, 2009, with US Cellular on March 16, 2009, and with Sprint Nextel on July 15, 2009. For more information about wireless 911, visit NENA‘s Cell Phones and 9-1-1 page.
On March 12, 2009, ground was broken on the new Joint Communications Center. The 5,500 square foot facility is tornado resistant and includes a new dispatch center, administrative offices, and space for meetings and training. The new facility features new furniture and computer equipment and an upgraded radio system to improve communications capabilities. Joint Communications moved from the Sheriff’s Office into its new home in October 2009. The construction of the facility and the purchase of the new equipment was funded by the 3/8 cent sales tax that was approved by Audrain County’s voters in April 2005.