911 delays due to outdated material

Dear Editor,

I did talk with Mrs. Lehman several days ago about this letter and her concern regarding 911. We have had many frustrating problems regarding the 911 system over the years, and the best answer we have ever received from anyone in the business is that Windstream's technology is antiquated and there was no plan in place to upgrade it.

My 911 coordinators over the past seven years have debated these issues from our local technicians, who are great to work with and this is not their fault, to Rob Jackson who is the head guy for Ohio 911, all the way to DC; shaking feathers to get something done.

When 911 is dialed, communication officers answer the line. If there is an issue with the call coming in, we have a roll over process in place where the call goes to the Putnam County Sheriff's Office Communications Center. This is a great system. Now, if we receive word that someone dialed 911 and absolutely nothing happened, as in Mrs. Lehman's case, we hope to eventually be made aware of it one way or another. That is when we start making calls to determine if this is an isolated incident with a specific residence, which we would recommend the home owner contact their telephone company, or if it is a large scale situation with an entire prefix i.e. 393 or provider like Verizon.

When a service provider, like Verizon, tells us the solution to a problem will last a certain period of time, we will put that out to the citizens via NIXLE, social media, or if it would be a very long time even the print and news media.

I have learned today that a 911 call made from a Frontier line in Haviland goes from the residence to Payne to Antwerp to Bryan and back to Windstream in Paulding before being passed to my office. This all happens in a matter of seconds.

Back to the statement I made about Windstream’s technology and no plan to upgrade it. Ironically enough, my 911 coordinator received a phone call this past Tuesday from the 911 coordinator for Windstream out of Little Rock, Ark. who says they are putting a new selective router in our county. This will replace the 1970's-era selective router that I am told is the cause of a lot of our issues. Our local Windstream technician was in today and confirmed he saw an email indicating this new unit will be installed in the coming weeks.

I had a nice conversation with Theresa Lehman in my office several days ago about this. I feel terrible for her and the family regarding the loss of her husband. It is unfortunate 911 didn't work as it should have, and we will never know what part of that call didn't work. We expect when a citizen dials 911 a professional answers to assist you.

Let's hope this upgrade Windstream is investing in our community solves any issue we've experienced. Time will tell.

Sheriff Jason K. Landers