Calhoun County’s 911 has a new home
By Cynthia M. Jeffries
PITTSBORO – Calhoun County sheriff’s jailers have new roommates in the department’s control room.
E-911 has moved into the sheriff’s department in Pittsboro. The move, which was completed Saturday, will improve deputies’ response time by at least one minute, Calhoun County E-911 Coordinator Brenda Jones said.
Headquarters for the county’s E-911 system, which has been in place for two years, was located in a small building behind the county courthouse about a mile away from the sheriff’s department.
Under the old arrangement, when a county call came into E-911, dispatchers took the information, placed a phone call to the sheriff’s department and relayed a message to a dispatcher there.
The move will eliminate that second phone call since the dispatchers will be sitting in the same control room with the sheriff’s jailer/dispatcher, Jones said.
Calhoun County Sheriff Billy Mac Gore said he is happy about the move, too.
“It will give my dispatchers an extra set of eyes and ears,” he said.
It should cut down on the chances for a jailer-assisted escape, Gore said, such as one that occurred last October when six inmates walked away from the recently opened jail.
A lone female jailer working a midnight-to-8 a.m. shift told authorities she was overpowered and locked in a jail cell after leaving the control room to check on a fire. Rachel Ingals claimed the inmates then stole her purse containing $200, her gun, the keys to all of the doors in the jail and her car. She waited two hours before contacting the 911 office and the former sheriff.
Three of the inmates were caught within hours of the early morning escape. The other three were recaptured within a week.
Ingals was charged in December with accessory to jail escape. A deputy said she allegedly developed a relationship with one of the escapees and wanted to help him get out.
Gore said Tuesday his four full-time and two part-time deputies are currently undergoing E-911 training so they can serve as emergency backups and cover the phones while E-911 dispatchers are on breaks. The four E-911 employees will not assist with any of the jailer’s duties. Their main duties will continue to be to take calls and dispatch fire, ambulance and law enforcement personnel, Jones said.
The move is nothing new. County officials considered it long before the million dollar county jail opened in September. But since the E-911 system went on line first, the move was delayed.