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Stronger signal: Love County E911 gets tech upgrade, moves into Justice Center

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
The new E911 center in the Love County Justice Center. Love County dispatchers officially moved into the facility last month.

Love County dispatchers made the final transition into the new Justice Center last month. 

The long-awaited facility opened in Dec. 2019 after voters approved a sales tax hike to help fund its construction. Along with the ability to house officers and up to 100 inmates, the plans for the facility included an area for dispatch and a server room for their equipment. 

It took several months for everything to get coordinated and for a new radio system and tower to arrive, but dispatchers are finally home. 

Kerri Manning, Love County E911 Coordinator, started as a dispatcher in 2017 and now oversees the seven other dispatchers who serve as the heroes behind the line whenever there is an emergency in Love County. 

Dispatchers transmit messages and send out officers from the Love County Sheriff's Office, Marietta and Thackerville Police Departments, Love County EMS and firefighters from 15 different departments when they are needed most. 

Prior to the transition into the Justice Center, Love County dispatchers operated out of a facility near the train tracks in Marietta. “The only complaint I think any of us ever had was the train,” Manning said. Occasionally as the train passed through, the sound of the horn could be disruptive. 

Some of the equipment was also a bit outdated. “Before we moved over here, we couldn’t hear the officers if they were in the building on a hand-held radio,” Manning said. “A lot of times they would be really scratchy if they were way out in the county and, now, they come in a lot clearer.” 

Manning said the Chickasaw Nation was instrumental in helping the Love County E911 Center update its equipment, and provided them with a "very generous" donation. The donation paid for a new radio system and tower to be installed in the Love County Justice Center. 

Now dispatchers can hear police, fire and medics very clearly, even in the farthest regions of the county. A clear signal is vital to helping police during routine tasks like traffic stops and ensuring that first responders remain safe, Manning said. 

“It could be anything from they’re out doing a traffic stop and they need to know if the vehicle's stolen or if the person has a warrant— it’s definitely all about officer safety,” Manning said. “If they need back up, if they need medics. Maybe they pulled somebody over and the person was trying to get to the hospital.” 

In order to move their equipment and dispatch servers over to the Love County Justice Center, Manning said they had to turn it all off. The Love County E911 Center went dark for about 10 hours, but Ardmore’s dispatchers stepped in to help. 

“They took all of our 911 calls for us and got them to us so we could get everybody dispatched out to them,” Manning said. “They were our superheroes for the day, definitely.”

Once all of the equipment was transferred over, things began running smoothly again. Manning attributed the smooth transition to her staff.

“I was really surprised, I was not expecting everything to go as smoothly as it did,” Manning said. “I have a great team, everybody that works with me is amazing. They’ve all handled this a lot better than I probably would have if I hadn’t had them.”

Manning said she and the dispatchers are very thankful for the new facility and technological updates, and remain ready to help serve the community in any way that they can. Everything will remain operationally the same, including emergency and admin numbers.  

“We’re just in a brand-new building that’s all nice and neat and I love it. I love being here,” Manning said. “I’ve got a great, great group of dispatchers, I can’t brag on them enough.”