Trailer serves as new West Liberty 9-1-1 center

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

The final images recorded to the West Liberty Police Department camera, show a Kentucky State Trooper and another man rush into the building just moments before the tornado hit the heart of town. Mere seconds later on the recording, the power goes out and the camera goes black.

When the twister hit, it knocked out everything from power, to phone lines, and even the 9-1-1 call center.

"The phone systems and stuff wasn't working. We weren't getting anything," described 9-1-1 dispatcher Jackie Mayberry.

In the wake of the storm, getting the dispatch center and 9-1-1 up and running was a big priority.

"We could make communications back-and-forth on the radio, but our phone systems were still down," continued Mayberry.

"The tornado, of course, took out all of the electricity," recalled Officer Kyler Wright, "it was chaotic, but we made the best of it."

Chris Chandler, who services the West Liberty call center, rushed to the small town the night of the storm and immediately began working to recover what ever he could.

In the end, 9-1-1 was offline for roughly 99 hours, which may sound like a long time, but Chandler says it's a pretty quick turn around, adding that a typical installation will take weeks of setting up and testing.

"What we did was pretty amazing considering we had to work around some damaged equipment," described Chandler.

"It was like a light switch, Interact was here, and we had our C.A.D. [communication] systems up," said Mayberry.

Getting the dispatch center up and running also helped the officers on the street.

"While I'm out patrolling in my car, I can't tell a difference," said Officer Wright.

While the trailer, that currently houses the call center, may not look like much on the outside, on the inside it's the only way to keep the town safe and the emergency crews connected.

Chandler says most of the original equipment was still in working order, but adds that the entire system may need to be replaced when the town rebuilds police department.

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