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911 addresses take effect in Berkeley County

June 22, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - New 911 addresses for two more parts of Berkeley County went into effect this week, and three other areas are expected to follow in the coming weeks, Berkeley County 911 Director Mary Kackley said Thursday.

Patrons of the Kearneysville postal district started using their addresses on Wednesday, while Shepherdstown postal residents began on Thursday, Kackley said.

Gerrardstown will be next, then Inwood and Bunker Hill together, she said.

In March, Falling Waters was the first area in the county to begin using new 911 addresses. Hedgesville was the second.

Residents have up to one year after their area goes on-line before the new addresses are mandatory.

The county has been revamping the address system to increase efficiency and clear up confusion, particularly where several streets had the same name. House numbers have been realigned to indicate the actual distance of a house along a street or from an intersection.

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The county is also getting 911 computer equipment and new street signs.

On Thursday, the County Commission approved a lease-purchase agreement to buy software from Visions Software, Inc. of Castle Hayne, N.C., and hardware from Document Solutions of Hagerstown, formerly known as American Advanced Computers, according to Kackley.

The county's central dispatch department will buy $230,000 worth of software and hardware, including seven work stations for dispatchers and supervisors, Kackley said.

Under the lease-purchase agreement with Patriot Public Finance of Allentown, Pa., the county will put $70,000 down and pay the balance in 36 monthly payments of about $4,925, she said.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department is getting its own 12 work stations and will spend about $60,000, Kackley said.

Kackley said she hopes computer aided dispatch, or CAD, will be used by dispatchers by October.

With CAD, emergency calls will come in with a readout of the telephone number and address of where the caller is. Currently, the display shows the phone number and address of where the phone bill is sent, which is often different, according to Kackley.

The records management part of the 911 computer system - which would indicate, for example, past calls to a particular address or possible fire hazards there - should be in place by November, she said.

Korman Signs Inc., a Richmond, Va. company, is under contract to provide approximately 2,000 new street signs for about $240,000.

Kackley said nine-inch signs will be installed where a state road meets a private road, and six-inch signs will go at the intersection of two private roads.

In some places, new signs will be put up where there had been no signs before. In other places, the old signs will be removed and laid on the ground. Kackley said she is contacting the county's homeowners' associations to have them pick up the old signs.

Commissioner Robert Burkhart noted that the county will not be responsible for the signs after they are taken down.

Kackley said that homeowners' groups that have not been contacted about their signs can call her office at 304-263-5271.

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