The Law Enforcement Center dispatch is getting a much needed update in equipment.

A long overdue equipment upgrade in the Law Enforcement Center dispatch area will provide a much more dependable system for emergency services.

Mike Tibbetts of Pratt County communications and dispatcher Becki Dreese presented information about new system options to the Pratt County commissioners during their regular weekly meeting on Dec. 3.

After reviewing system options, the commissioners chose Avtec for the updated dispatch equipment and approved not more than $165,000 to cover the cost. But the commissioners left themselves the option to increase cost depending on final equipment needs for the upgrade project.

Other companies were considered for the project but their cost estimates, including freight costs, were much higher than Avtec. Tech support for the other companies was not 24 hours and 7 days a week like Avtec, Tibbetts said.

“Both their quotes were significantly higher,” Tibbetts said.

Tibbetts said the cost he presented to the commissioners was preliminary. Once the on-site inspection is complete, a final cost will be established. Tibbetts said he anticipates the final cost will be very close to the estimate.

Besides being less expensive, the commissioners liked the Avtec product better than the other options.

Tibbetts said a representative will come to Pratt and do an on-site inspection of equipment to determine the exact needs for dispatch. The cost includes installation, tech support, on-site training plus training for two employees at the Avtec facility in South Carolina.

The new equipment will replace the existing equipment in the two positions at dispatch plus provide a third position that can be used remotely. In the event of a disaster, dispatch can operate remotely from the disaster site if necessary, Tibbetts said.

Sedgwick County has an Avtec system and they are very pleased with the equipment. The only problem they had was a few glitches when the system was first installed. But the company quickly corrected the problems and the system has worked very well, Dreese said.

The new system is long overdue. On a couple of occasions, Dreese said the dispatch screens went blank but quickly came back on. The current system has been around for so long, if it failed, equipment that could read floppy discs would have to be used, Tibbetts said.

If the current system did go down before the new equipment could be installed, 911 calls would be routed through Hutchinson, Dreese said.