Granite County gets $235K state grant to upgrade emergency response systems


GRANITE COUNTY – Granite County became a recipient of a grant from the state of Montana to upgrade its 911 systems, making them current with advancing technology.

The money came from a fund established in 2017 by House Bill 61 and the Montana Department of Administration, State Information Technology Services Division, Public Safety Communications Bureau. Some $6.8 million was made available for the purpose of to supporting the implementation, operation, and maintenance of 9-1-1 systems, equipment, devices, and data.

Granite County Sheriff Scott Dunkerson stated that the $235,000 received from the program will go towards the replacement of the current Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system that the county uses in favor of one that is more advanced and able to adapt to the changing requirements of CAD systems across the country.

“My biggest goal in getting this grant and this system was to make dispatch’s job easier,” said Dunkerson of the Zuercher CAD system, “which in turn makes every call to emergency services go better.”

Dunkerson noted that the system that Granite County presently has is outdated, unsupported and unable to adapt the to the changing technological landscape of the next generation of 911 calls. CAD systems are used to store and organize all of the data involved in each and every event that the Granite County Sheriff and related emergency responders are involved in.

The Zuercher CAD allows users to integrate information from mapping, next gen 911 and the Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) as well as all of the old data from the county’s previous CAD system which dates all the way back to 2001.

Zuercher will also streamline the way the department reports is data to places like the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the towns of Drummond and Philipsburg. Instead of having to compile data manually or manipulating it from multiple sources, Zuercher will allow Dunkerson and his staff to complete their required reporting in fewer, simpler steps.

Granite County was one of 36 towns and counties that received funds, with the majority getting less money than Granite. Seven different entities upgraded to a new CAD system, with three getting the Zuercher system like Granite County.

Dunkerson stated that training and conversion to the new CAD system will be done in stages and will be completed in about a year.

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