HARTINGTON — The Cedar County 911 system just got better.
Cedar County now has a new dispatch system which uses digitized records to improve speed and accuracy.
Garvin said his favorite new function is that at the dispatch desk the computer takes a transcript of calls using voice-to-text technology.
This new system should offer more available phone lines than Cedar County Dispatch should ever need, and it has improved communication between emergency callers and the dispatch workers.
The old Motorola system had been in place for 10 years and needed to be replaced. Since the technology has transitioned from analog to digital, Motorola was discontinuing parts for their old systems and encouraging updates across the country, said Garvin.
Cedar County paid over $200,000 to purchase the equipment and have it installed. Most of this came from grants and was in an Emergency Management fund that had built up over the years, Garvin said.
“The materials were 90 percent of the cost,” said Garvin.
For installation, Motorola needed to hire a company familiar with the equipment. For that, Electronic Technologies, Sioux City, Iowa, has been traveling to Hartington to install the new system and help with any troubleshooting issues that arise.
It is important to note, this machine is expected to be in place for 10 years and that part of the reason a transition needed to take place is because analog works with copper wiring, while digital works with fiber-optics. Hartelco has been transitioning to fiber recently, and they house the county’s dispatch phone lines.
The new system has been in use since Nov. 22, and the main issue that has needed to be adjusted is audio levels at the dispatch desk.
“As with anything there are adjustments that have to be made. Problems of level settings and setting the audio levels on each and every radio in the system,” Garvin said.