Collier County preparing for launch of new 911 system

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NAPLES, Fla.- The Collier County Sheriff’s Office has spent $4 million in taxpayer money to improve the way 911 calls are dispatched, but some firefighters are concerned there may be kinks to work out when the new system launches.

“Everything we’re doing is to make things faster, make things more efficient,” said Chris Gonzalez, director of communications for the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office will launch its new countywide dispatch system on January 26. The main difference is this system will use what’s called
Closest Unit Dispatch, meaning it will alert every fire truck, patrol car and ambulance simultaneously through GPS.

The closest unit will respond to an emergency, but North Collier firefighters are concerned that not all departments in the county will be ready for the launch.

“Several agencies in the county have not even attached the GPS locators in their trucks,” said Battalion Commander James Cunningham with North Collier Fire District, saying that would make the closest unit dispatch obsolete. “By not equipping all their units, the entire county will not be able to utilize closest unit response until all the fire departments and EMS will come live on the same system.”

The sheriff’s office says some first responders are still testing the new system, but they plan to be up and running for the launch at the end of the month.

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