JONESBORO— Cutting edge technology could soon change the way Clayton County public safety personnel respond to emergencies.
State Senator Valencia Seay (D)-Riverdale recently hosted a presentation of a project by the county’s information technology department, designed to assist the county’s public safety personnel.
Clayton County’s community development director, Patrick Ejike, introduced and explained how the Public Safety Digital Network will operate.
According to Ejike, the new technology will help emergency workers locate people and can give detailed information about homeowners.
“You can click on a parcel of land, using our county data, and tell the number of acreage of the property,” Ejike said. “We are now able to consolidate and build a master address file. This system will be used by all county departments.”
He said the digital network will inform county workers if a resident is registered voter, to help verify if they are using the correct voting precinct.
Ejike said most public safety calls are from residents living in apartment complexes. He added the digital network could lead police, firefighters or emergency medical technicians to the exact location of the caller.
“You can click on the apartment complex and it will tell you how many units and floors are in the complex,” he said.
Clayton County Manager Wade Starr told the small group attending the meeting he recently had to call police when he found a homeless man inside his house. Starr said he lives in Morrow and said he was surprised to see that Forest Park police responded to the 911 call.
Starr said he would like to get the cities to agree to have one 911 system.
“We are prepared to do that for nothing, but they don’t want to do it,” he added.
The county manager said county officials want to move the county forward in a progressive way.
“In this environment we need to find out ways to provide a high level of service in a professional manner,” Starr said.
Clayton County Emergency Agency Director, Assistant Chief Landry Merkison, said the county will use money from Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) to fund the Public Safety Digital Network.
Merkison said the Federal Communication Commission granted approval Nov. 18, for the digital network. The county has awarded its contract to Motorola.
Motorola was scheduled to give its approval Friday, according to Merkison.
“We wanted to use information and turn it into saving lives and saving property,” Merkison said.
The fire deputy chief said the county is scheduled to erect six brand new towers, which will all be strategically placed on county properties.
Towers will be placed on Riverdale Road, Rex Road, Government Circle, Panhandle Road, Ellison Road and Victory Boulevard.
Merkison said it will take nine months for construction of the towers.
“The one thing that will slow us down is tower construction,” he added.
“We are so global now it is encouraging for me to see where we are going as a county,” Seay said. “ I understand that we are in this together.”