Situated on the eastern border of Mississippi, Lauderdale County is home to about 90,000 hardworking residents, three congested interstates and one busy emergency communications center. Working in teams of four, the dedicated staff of dispatchers spend their time fielding requests for police, fire, and emergency medical assistance, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There are no slow seasons in this active community. With an annual call volume of 250,000, Lauderdale 911 depends on its communication equipment to work as diligently and consistently as its staff, helping them efficiently manage the workload while providing a direct link between emergency dispatchers and first responders in the field.
Addressing the Inevitable
Unfortunately, as time passed, Lauderdale’s aging communications system began to succumb to the wear and tear of non-stop use. Like many emergency response centers across the country, Lauderdale faced a dilemma. Should they continue to dedicate time and resources to fixing their ailing equipment or invest in a new system? But as the agency’s current Vesta Palace and Motorola MCC5500 console approached end of life, manufacturer support and replacement parts were becoming more difficult to consistently obtain. Jared Stanley, Lauderdale 911’s communications director, saw the writing on the wall and concluded it was time for an upgrade. Knowing his staff needed a system that could support current operations, as well as have the flexibility and scalability to evolve with the agency into the future, Stanley contacted Zetron partner, Comsouth for help selecting a new system.
Having worked with Lauderdale 911 for more than 20 years and being acutely aware of their operations and needs, Comsouth account manager, Gregg Tate, was confident that Zetron’s MAX System was the perfect solution. “Without question, Zetron’s MAX Call Taking and MAX Dispatch solutions deliver the best combination of features and cost-effectiveness on the market. The entire MAX portfolio is changing the way the industry looks at public safety communications,” said Tate.
Securing Future Flexibility
After viewing a demonstration of both the MAX Call Taking and MAX Dispatch Systems, Stanley knew his search was over. On top of its clean design and customizable layout, it was incredibly intuitive. As opposed to other systems on the market he’d seen, the MAX System didn’t sacrifice user-experience for functionality–it delivered both.
“After seeing the MAX system, we never considered anything else,” said Stanley. “The Zetron console gave us everything we wanted in a system, with the added bonus of vendor neutrality. Unlike our old system, we wouldn’t be locked into purchasing all of our radios from a specific manufacturer, so if we wanted to switch out our radios over time we could change vendors without having to abandon our entire communications system.”
Ensuring Successful Deployment
When the time came to transition to the Zetron system, there were no surprises. The team from Comsouth set up a temporary communications room so dispatchers could continue to handle calls and radio traffic while technicians installed four MAX Call Taking and MAX Dispatch positions. Once the new consoles were up and running, the emergency communications staff resumed their duties without interruption.
Comsouth’s Gregg Tate attributes the smooth deployment to advanced preparation. “We spent a lot of time with Lauderdale going over the features and fine tuning the layout ahead of time, so when the system finally went live, everyone knew exactly what to expect,” advised Tate.
Because of the user-friendly interface and built-in flexibility, the staff was able to adapt to the new MAX Systems quickly. Lauderdale’s communication director was equally impressed by the seamless transition. “There wasn’t any learning curve. The MAX system was so intuitive that we didn’t need to dedicate entire days or memorize a long list of complicated steps to complete everyday tasks. Training took place on the floor during normal operations. The entire process went as painless as one could hope for during a project of this scale,” Stanley said.
Eliminating Service Outages
Since deploying the MAX Call Taking and MAX Dispatch systems, the staff of Lauderdale County 911 hasn’t had to worry about their communications going down in the middle of an incident. As Stanley explains, “The new system hasn’t let us down. We haven’t experienced any failures, technical glitches, or outages with both systems. And the support we’ve received from Zetron has been many steps ahead of what we had with our prior vendor,” he said.
On top of the increased uptime, Stanley also praised the system’s ease of use. “The system substantially reduces the time it takes for us to train new hires. We don’t have to hold a special class or spend 20 hours teaching the new dispatchers how to use the console. The system is so easy to learn; once we go over the basic steps, everything else comes naturally,” said Stanley.
Looking back, Stanley has no regrets about his decision to upgrade Lauderdale 911 to MAX Call Taking and MAX Dispatch. “After seeing how well the system works for our communications center, I would absolutely recommend MAX Systems to any agency looking for reliable and intuitive communications solutions.”