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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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New 9-1-1 system expected to be operating this month

A major upgrade of Ottawa County’s 9-1-1 emergency system is expected to go online sometime in January.

“It’s being built as we speak,” said Sgt. James Lucas, head of the communications division of the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. “I will travel to Michigan in a couple of weeks to check it out.”

The new system is being assembled by Cassidian Communications, a company that specializes in emergency management technology, at a Michigan site. Their work is being assisted by Frontier, Time Warner and Advanced Wireless Technologies.

“They’ll set it up there and do the testing there on site,” Lucas explained.

When the bugs are worked out, the new system will be transported back to the communications station on the third floor of the Ottawa County Courthouse.

There should be little to no disruption in the local 9-1-1 service during the transition.

“As I understand it, it will run parallel to the old system for a while,” until final approval is given for the solitary launch, Lucas said.

Expectations were high that the system would be ready by mid to late December, but that did not happen.

Lucas is confident, based on recent progress reports he has received, that the system will be in place before January’s end.

The upgrade will vastly improve service for residents across Ottawa County, Sheriff Steve Levorchick said in a previous interview. The 9-1-1 committee pushed for the 15-year-old system’s replacement  given the equipment is nearing its reliable shelf life, he explained.

Wood County will also continue to play a major role in the local 9-1-1 service.

More than five years ago, Ottawa County, under the direction of former Sheriff Robert Bratton, forged a partnership with Wood County that tied their 9-1-1 emergency systems together and introduced a back up option.

The improved system, equipment included, will be shared with Wood County, according to Sheriff Levorchick.

The $680,000 bill will be covered by the two counties. Ottawa County’s portion is $160,000.

Wood County carries the larger share of the cost because its network is larger and services municipalities such as Bowling Green and Perrysburg.

Local residents won’t have to shell out any cash for the upgrade either.

Ottawa County’s share comes from a fund accumulated from a 9-1-1 service charge collected on cell phone bills, according to Lucas.

Ebola outbreak

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