Texarkana & Miller Co. struggling to make decision about 911 dispatch funding
TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - Committee members with the Arkansas state 911 board gathered together on Jan. 19 to view dispatch operations at Texarkana Bi State communications center and the Miller County sheriff’s department.
Texarkana, Miller County, and state leaders are worried about who will take future 911 emergency calls because a decision has yet to be made about funding.
The city and county operate separate 911 centers and receive around $650,000 from the state. As a result of legislation passed in 2019, Texarkana and Miller County was ordered to combine 911 dispatch.
C.J. Engel, an executive director of the 911 board, said the 911 board was established to reduce the number of Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) across the State of Arkansas.
“And in that plan, the 911 board required 15 counties with multiple or more than one 911 centers to reduce that number down,” said Engel.
Texarkana and Miller County were given until Jan. 23 to come up with a consolidation plan, but as of Jan 19, there is no plan. City and county leaders say the main holdup is neither entity wants to lose state funding.
“So, at this point, the 911 board has to make the decision moving forward the direction that funding will be,” said Engel.
A.J. Gary, a board member, wants to see the issue resolved.
“The purpose of the visit today, for the 911 board, so they can see everything and gather all the facts and help them make that inform decision,” said Gary.
No timetable has been set for the decision. The 911 board officials say it would take a two-third vote from the board to keep things as they are, and that is what city and county leaders are hoping.
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