Newly revamped St. John 9-1-1 system should go on line in fall

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 19, 1999

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / April 19, 1999

LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish’s 9-1-1 system, newly revampedwith more time-saving and safety-enhancing features, should go on line this fall.

Chief Deputy Harold Klibert of the St. John Sheriff’s Office enlistedcooperation Tuesday from the Parish Council, which allocated $216,000 for upgrades to the system.

“I want to keep us as technically advanced as our finances allow us, without going back to the voters,” Klibert said.

The actual upgrades will cost $193,000, most of which will go toward telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDDs) at all operator stations, built into the software of the system. At present, a single TDD has to beswitched on when the need arises.

The same software will also open an audio line into a deaf caller’s residence to enable the operator to hear background sounds, Klibert said.

Klibert pointed out the software acquisition was recommended by the U.S.Justice Department, who reviewed the system in July 1998.

Other enhancements include enabling cellular phone users to phone into the local 9-1-1 system, that cost being paid through a monthly $1 fee to all cellular phone customers.

Also, the 9-1-1 center will replace its present computer terminals with an integrated system allowing more interaction between callers and operators.

The remainder of the $216,000 cost, around $23,000, will pay off the current seven-year lease-purchase of equipment from contractor Motorola, which normally would be paid off in June 2000.

“How good your responding agency is how good your 9-1-1 system is,” Klibert commented.

St. John Parish obtained a 9-1-1 system in 1989, the effort spearheadedby then-Parish President Lester Millet and then-Sheriff Lloyd B. Johnson.At that time, the only emergency police numbers available in the parish were the general, seven-digit numbers set up for the convenience of LaPlace area, Reserve area and west bank area residents. Fire departmentseach maintained their own emergency, seven-digit numbers as well.

With 9-1-1, the fire departments all discontinued their emergency numbers. However, Klibert explained, the local police numbers have beenmaintained for people who, for whatever reasons, prefer to preserve their anonymity.

Klibert said the Parish Council is the governing board of the 9-1-1 system, although it is jointly administered by himself and Civil Defense Director Bertram Madere.

During 1998, the sheriff’s office received 89.82 percent of all 9-1-1calls, compared to 6.78 percent to Acadian Ambulance, and 3.41 percentfor local fire departments, according to Klibert.

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