Rep. Upton E-911 dedication speaker

Published 3:16 am Friday, October 3, 2003

By Staff
CASSOPOLIS -- Keynote speaker for the dedication of the new E-911 Central Dispatch facility at 130 N. Broadway will be Cass County's congressman, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Sheriff Joseph M. Underwood Jr., together with the Central Dispatch Authority, announced the dedication will take place Monday, Oct. 6.
Upton is chairman of the House Telecommunications Committee.
An open house and tours of the new facility will follow from 4 to 7 p.m.
Today, most of us take the signal "911" for granted and we assume that dialing it will connect us to the help we need.
That has not always been the case.
Improved telecommunications in the late 1980s and '90s gave birth to the new service that allowed consumers to dial three digits rather than the usual seven to summon help in an emergency.
In 1988, with financial assistance from the State of Michigan, the Central Dispatch Authority was created to manage 911 service development.
It has only been since June 1992 that Cass County citizens have had the benefit of 911 dialing for emergency response services.
Prior to that date, it was necessary to call individual police, fire or ambulance providers directly to request service.
The service has since been enhanced to allow dispatchers to see the street address of 911 callers, which greatly improves the ability to provide prompt aid when needed.
The new operations center occupies renovated space at the north end of the annex to the historic 1899 courthouse.
The building will house Emergency Management Services and central dispatch functions for the entire county.
Central Dispatch is currently housed at the Sheriff's Office.
Space has also been provided for records and evidence storage.
Construction of the new facility was made possible by a grant of federal funds from the Rural Development Authority of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The public is invited to attend the festivities and to view the state-of-the-art communications facility from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday, Oct. 6.