Morgan County E-911’s journey from paper- and hardware-based systems to a fully integrated Next Generation 9-1-1 platform with Zetron’s MAX solutions spans over two decades.
When Matthew Brown joined Morgan County E-911 in 2003 as a Dispatcher, he and fellow dispatchers worked in a highly manual, paper-based environment. Today, as the agency’s Director, he’s been a part of tremendous and instrumental changes in how the rural county’s emergency communications operate after a multi-year phased implementation of a fully integrated suite of NG9-1-1 technologies from Zetron.
Brown, who has been Director of Morgan County E-911 since 2010, recalls the days of paper complaint cards, radio logs and maps. “We didn’t have a computer-generated map at all. We had printed map books and a wall map that weren’t updated frequently. The information would get outdated really quick,” he said.
Serving an area of more than 500 square miles and 21,000+ residents in the Cumberland Mountains of Eastern Tennessee (USA), the 14 full time employees of Morgan County E-911 provide around the clock emergency communications support to public safety agencies across the county and participating cities – including law enforcement, fire, rescue and emergency medical services – typically handling 200 to 350 calls per day.
Next generation solutions for the future
Despite being a rural agency with limited funding, Brown and Morgan County have been steadfast in planning and making iterative investments to steadily bring the agency up to the current technology standard for next generation emergency communications. Morgan County was no stranger to Zetron, having been a customer of its Model 3200 push button base radio dispatch product for many years. So, the enduring quality and reliability of Zetron products and services provided the foundation when it came time to look forward.
Morgan County began its transition in 2005 with the purchase of MAX GIS Mapping, an automated map-viewing system that transformed mapping, addressing and reporting. That was followed in 2008 with the addition of MAX Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) to more efficiently manage the full range of incident information. Next in 2013, MAX Call Taking was brought on board with features and functions that allowed the team to initiate faster, more informed and better coordinated communications and responses. Brown reflected on how minimal the disruptions were and how easy training went despite all the changes for the team.
“The implementations and training went really well,” Brown said. “The installs were as close to perfect as you can get, with no interruptions to service. Trainers did sit-down sessions with dispatchers and explained all the options. It was a pretty stress-free process.”
More recently in 2021, Morgan County once again called on Zetron to upgrade to MAX Dispatch. The software-based dispatching and alerting system gives Morgan County the ability to manage radio and phone operations, as well as alerting capabilities with fire stations and other agencies. With the addition of MAX Dispatch, the agency now has a fully integrated, standards-based mission critical communications platform, futureproofed for Morgan County as only a fully interoperable system can provide.
“Going from the button base system to a computerized radio system was a huge change, but now it’s second nature with all the options,” Brown said. “It went extremely well.”
Finally, Morgan County has now updated MAX Call Taking with the latest release, which will enable the agency to accept text to 9-1-1 communications and make the full transition to NG9-1-1.
Ease of use, glitch-free integration and reliability
Brown is pleased with the next generation Zetron systems he and his team rely on to serve Morgan County. One of the biggest benefits he sees is the ease of use for dispatchers, which relieves stress and helps them get resources out to the field more efficiently. He also notes that the glitch-free integration of everything is a huge factor, as is the ease of updating information on the back end and making on-the-fly changes – such as adding a new officer to the system moments before they go on duty.
“A lot of people say don’t put all your eggs in one basket with one company, but the interoperability of Zetron products ensures we won’t ever be painted into a corner, and the seamless integration and how well the products work together is a huge time saver,” Brown said. “The Zetron solutions are dependable and reliable, and customer service is beyond great. I would recommend it to anyone.”
At a Glance
Morgan County E-911 provides round-the-clock 9-1-1 services in and around Morgan County in Eastern Tennessee. From 2005-2013, the center transitioned from cumbersome manual- and paper-based systems to Zetron’s MAX GIS Mapping, MAX CAD and MAX Call Taking. However, the agency was still relying on a Button Base Dispatch system that had reached end-of-life and needed to be replaced.
In 2021, Morgan County replaced the button base system with MAX Dispatch, which integrates seamlessly with the previously installed suite of MAX solutions. The team also updated their MAX Call Taking system for next gen 9-1-1 capabilities.
The fully integrated, next generation emergency communications system gives dispatchers the features and functions they need to get resources to the field rapidly and accurately, with reliability that makes all the difference in emergency situations. The resulting efficiency improvements, ease-of-use, and reduced stress have all made the transition to Zetron’s MAX Solutions a game changer for the Morgan County team and communities they serve