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KC area's 9-1-1 system will get major upgrade
by Wendy Crotts
Landmark reporter


At its meeting Tuesday, Aug. 28, the Mid America Regional Counsel (MARC) Board of Directors authorized the execution of an agreement with Commenco, Inc. software and hardware to upgrade dispatching operations in 9-1-1 public safety answer points around the eight county Kansas City region, which includes Platte County.

The value of equipment and five year maintenance plan is $7.9 million.

In addition, the new equipment will allow agencies to process 9-1-1 calls from landline phones with greater efficiency. It also provides the region with capability of identifying the number and location of wireless calls, once the phone companies upgrade their systems.

With 53% of all 9-1-1 calls coming from wireless devices, it has been a regional priority to upgrade the system to provide the same level of response capability that currently exists with landline phones to callers from wireless devices.

Each county's share of the 9-1-1 system costs, both operating costs and equipment, is based on the county's share of the regional population. Each of the eight counties contributes to the regional 9-1-1 system expenses.

Currently only landline phone customers contribute to the costs of 9-1-1 services. MARC and local public safety agencies have been working with both state legislatures for several years to extend the current 9-1-1 surcharge to wireless services.