Sheriff: Upgraded 9-1-1 system can ‘save lives’ in Cherokee Co.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – A brand new operation is up and running to keep people safe in Cherokee County.

A renovated 9-1-1 center included going live last week with a new computer-aided dispatch – or CAD – system by Zuercher Technologies.

“We’ve joined forces with the sheriff’s office and Gaffney City – police and fire – and Blacksburg Police,” said Cherokee County 9-1-1 Director Reggie Petty.

The agencies were not connected on the same information system, causing public safety risks.

“We had guys that were trying to serve warrants on bad guys, another officer was out with him an hour ago and he didn’t even know he had a warrant on him,” said Cherokee County Sheriff Steve Mueller. “The systems were not connected together.”

Now, warrants, arrests, whether the person’s a sex offender, and other vital details are automatically shared among officers, deputies, and firemen. That information is available dispatchers, and first responders in the field using their tablets.

“Let’s say we go to a house tonight and we dismantle a drug lab, three weeks later the fire department gets a fire call there, while in route they will at least have that knowledge,” said Sheriff Mueller.

Dispatchers can also use a new feature to help find someone after accessing their cell phone’s GPS.

“Say they can’t talk, someone’s kidnapped, we can send them that link and they don’t have to put themselves in danger,” said Cherokee County 9-1-1 Deputy Director Brandon Peeler.

From that same screen a caller can also share photos.

“Let’s say they have a missing child, the question the dispatcher is going to ask is do you have a picture of that child,” said Peeler.

The system’s overhaul cost about $1.5 million and the sheriff says it’s worth it.

“This is going to enhance the ability of public safety to be more informed, be more alert, and offer a better, efficient service to our citizens,” said Sheriff Mueller. “I believe it’s going to save lives because we’re all armed with the same information.”

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s office has been using Zuercher Technologies over the past four years to manage its records and jail. Sheriff Mueller says the goal is to eventually have EMS and the smaller volunteer fire departments to get on board as well.