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St. Joseph Police Department Upgrading 911 System

The upgrade covers St. Joseph and Buchanan County's 911 services.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Crews were busy Thursday installing new equipment at the Communications Center in St. Joseph.

Dispatchers there not only process 911 calls, but communicate with officers in the field.

They say an upgrade is critical.

"As the equipment gets older, you can have equipment failures so this is the upgrade to the newer hardware and software which will provide a better service," says Capt. Mike Wilson with St. Joseph Police Department.

The upgrade covers St. Joseph and Buchanan County's 911 services.

The changes include handheld radios and new software at the Communications Center.

The $2 million update is needed not only to provide better service to the community but to keep law enforcement officers safe.

The system hasn't been updated since 2006. The current system was also installed and switched from analog to digital in 2006.

Next month, the police department will also begin updates on its radio system under a contract with Motorola that includes seven towers in the county.

Though there were no problems with the system officials say it needed to be updated.

"Actually, it was a very good system. It was designed in 1986 for the Los Angeles Olympics so the technology was designed at that time," adds Wilson.

City leaders passed a special ordinance in December for the new system that saves taxpayers nearly $400,000. Under the contract, the old equipment will be traded in.

The software upgrades are something Capt. Wilson says will also advance communication with other police departments.

"If we have a system failure or even a connection error that we might have this is to provide a premier service that we will not lose service in time of need when it's needed," said Wilson.

Updates to the 911 system are expected to be completed Friday.
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