When Jenna Gresham answers calls at Marion County’s 9-1-1 center, she knows how important her job is.
“You’ve got a lot of lives on your hands. A lot of lives and a lot of responsibility,” she said.
Hannibal police rely on dispatchers like Gresham to transfer information that may be important in an emergency but with slow and unreliable internet services, that doesn’t always happen.
“That might be vital,” said Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis. “That might be invaluable for an officer’s safety or a civilians safety so there are so many factors there. It can also impede an investigation because you want that information quickly. It can be the matter of arresting somebody in minutes or not having that information when you need it.”
Davis said, Thursday, the mayor signed a 5-year contract to implement fiber internet services.
Davis said that will solve many of the connection problems they have with the 9-1-1 center.
“As we put more and more demands on our internet service everything from the record exchanges we give to the federal government, to the state, even with our red light camera system is largely dependent on internet service. We need a very reliable internet service,” said Davis.
Meanwhile dispatchers like Gresham said they look forward to the better connection because they know how important every second is during an emergency.
“It’s very nerve-racking and its something you have to put into consideration, you have the safety of everybody, the safety of people in here and the safety out there. Your citizens, your officers, all your responders,” said Gresham.
Chief Davis said he hopes to have the fiber service up and running by the beginning of 2019.
The 5-year contract with Bluebird Network will cost about $6,800 a year, but the city will cut the two internet services the police department currently uses. In the end, Davis said this will save the city some money.