Instant recall and invaluable info, in the heat of the moment

Tech upgrade will help Missouri’s Shelby County E911 direct a more efficient emergency response

In the event of a 911, it’s essential to have the 411.

And few incidents drove that fact home more profoundly for Mary Lu McConnell than a bank robbery attempt in Shelby County, Missouri some years back.

“Thanks to some quick thinking by a bank teller, we were able to have a time-stamped recording of that 911 call,” says McConnell, director of the Shelby County E911 emergency management center in Shelbyville. “As law enforcement mobilized and began trying to track the culprit down, we were able to play the call back to them right there in the moment.

“Recording those 911 calls, and radio traffic, allows us to save time and reduce uncertainty,” she adds. “Basically, having that information on hand is essential to coordinating an effective response to an emergency.”

Shelby County E911 faithfully serves the county’s 6,300 residents as its emergency management nerve center, directing police, fire and paramedic services and supporting surrounding counties for a 500-mile radius as part of a mutual aid agreement.

However, the call logging and recording equipment used by Shelby County E911 is 10 years old, outdated and on its last legs. In recent months, the equipment has failed a few times, with Shelby County E911 staff forced to reach out to neighboring counties for backup.

That call logging and recording device is one piece of a larger equipment upgrade initiative for Shelby County E911, along with computer workstations, telephone system and digital radio technology.

As the most urgent item on the list, the 911 call logger and recorder has been ordered and is expected to be operational in early October, using an $11,800 Enbridge grant.

Enbridge is committed to enhancing quality of life in the communities where we do business. Since 2002, our Safe Community program has awarded grants to local emergency response organizations near our pipelines and facilities for equipment, training and education.

“Even in a small town, like Shelbyville, when you have an emergency it’s a big deal—and you need to be able to communicate,” says Scott Clark, Enbridge’s U.S. midcontinent regional director.

The remainder of Shelby County E911’s upgrade will use public funds from the USDA Office of Rural Development.

“Our staff is looking forward to all the improvements,” says McConnell. “It’s less stressful for our operators, who work very hard and need the equipment to work efficiently and properly.”