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      Dispatch upgrades protect officers, public

      A joint 911 dispatch system in the Fox Valley is getting a million dollar overhaul.
      A joint 911 dispatch system in the Fox Valley is getting a million dollar overhaul.
      TOWN OF MENASHA - "Ultimately this really could save lives."A joint 911 dispatch system in the Fox Valley is getting a million dollar overhaul.And it is all meant to keep you and the officers who respond, safer.The system is used in Winnebago, Outagamie and Calumet counties."It can also run license plates, run people's names," said Town of Menasha Police officer Jason Weber.All things in car squad computers can do now. But the upgraded system provides officers in the three-county area more power at the push of a button."It really is a lot of information that is at the officer's finger tips," said Weber.And Weber says with more information..."The more information that an officer can have, obviously the better decision that can be made."Dispatchers say that translates to a better outcome for residents in the tri-county area."When you are in a position that you need that help, you need to be able to count on everyone from that first call-taker who takes that call to the dispatcher who sends it out to the first responder who is responding," said Winnebago County Sheriff's Department Captain Mark Habeck."It affords a lot more safety for the officers and the citizens and the other first responders coming," said Weber.Officers will have quicker access to property and vehicle information.They will also be able to see a history of previous 911 calls someone may have made.A new mapping feature will show where other nearby officers are."It is a system that is used the minute the 911 call is made until the minute the call is concluded by the officer," said Weber.The project cost the three counties $1.6 million.It replaces an older version in use for the last eight years that officials say needed to be replaced.And Weber says it's a life-saving investment."What's the ultimate goal? It's to keep crime down, maintain our quality of life and save lives."Agencies spent the past few weeks training on the new system and upgrading the computers.Winnebago County will be the first to go online with the upgraded system March 25th.Outagamie County and Calumet County will follow in consecutive weeks.