Hutchins Police Department receives over half million dollars from state for 911 improvements

Hutchins Police department

HUTCHINS – Hutchins Police Department Communications Supervisor Becky Blanton has been with the city since November 2022.

Since then, Blanton has maintained a strong focus on improving the city’s public safety service in Hutchins.

Hutchins Police Chief Steve Perry said his department began discussions with the city council last fall regarding the need to upgrade the City’s 911 public safety system. This need was part of a variety of overall improvements needed within the city’s Police Department.

Help came to the rescue in March of this year when a funding opportunity became available for State Emergency Communication funds to be utilized for 911 communication upgrades specifically.

The funding was part of a Texas Legislative Bill that passed, SB 8, during a special session. It appropriated $150 million from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to the Next Gen 9-1-1 Funds.

The fund was earmarked for the deployment and reliable operation of next-generation 9-1-1 services, including equipment and administration costs.

Through the hard work of Blanton and the Hutchins PD overall, the city was recently notified that it will receive $699,123.23 from this opportunity. According to Perry, the money will be used specifically to enhance the PD’s call processing time, data exchange, and multimedia capabilities.

Perry added, “Mrs. Blanton worked under some very tight timelines to ensure that all grant applications were submitted within the required time frames and submission deadlines.”

With this money, Perry said call time will not only be optimized for faster response times to emergency calls in Hutchins, but the 9-1-1 call centers will also be able to exchange data and information with responders efficiently.

“This will enhance situational awareness and increase responder safety,” Perry explained.

New multimedia capabilities will include video, text, and telematics.

Once the new system is implemented, the Hutchins 911 call center will also be able to receive video emergency calls and support video- and text-based communication.

Perry pointed out, “Text messages can be crucial when voice communication is not feasible or safe. The new system will integrate telematics data that includes vehicle location, speed, and direction.”

He also noted alarms and sensor data will offer real-time information about incidents such as gas leaks, or environmental hazards. Adding the ability to read the alarm and sensor data will in turn help responders in assessing incidents accurately for safety.

The money received by the state from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds must be used by December 31, 2026.

“This funding will greatly enhance public safety communications in the City of Hutchins, not only for our citizens to be able to text 911 but will also improve location services when needing to locate a 911 caller who may be in distress due to a medical or other emergency, mapping for our first responders and, voice translation,” Perry concluded.

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