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Pinellas County is upgrading its 9-1-1 system, improving communication between law enforcement agencies

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Posted at 4:46 PM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 19:18:38-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Pinellas County is getting ready to upgrade the system you rely on in an emergency.

Right now, when you call 9-1-1 and an operator gets your information, it’s shared with emergency responders in the area of the emergency. Soon, every law enforcement agency in Pinellas County will get access to that information seamlessly.

The PRIME (Pinellas Regional Information Management Enterprise) system will also allow law enforcement officers to access police reports from any city in Pinellas County. Right now, they only have quick access to reports for the agency they work for since they currently use different record systems.

The Pinellas County Sheriff says it will speed up response times and improve emergency response overall.

“It’s a really good thing. It’s a thing that has been long overdue in Pinellas County,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told ABC Action News reporter Sarah Hollenbeck.

Gualtieri says it’s a major upgrade that will help all the responding agencies. “This is one of the crazy things about this. If we are here in the Pinellas County Sheriff Administration Building on Ulmerton Road and I walk out to my car and this is in the city of Largo, and a Largo Police Officer gets dispatched to a robbery at the bank across the street. I wouldn’t see that in our computer system. With this new system, I’ll be able to see it and be able to react to it. That’s a game changer,” he elaborated.

The PRIME 9-1-1 system will fix that and allow all law enforcement officers to see where other responding officers are located.

“We have maps in all of our patrol cars and the only thing we see right now is where the sheriff deputies are. We don’t see where the Largo Police Officers are, St Pete Police are, Clearwater Police are and they don’t see us so now that’s going to dramatically change,” he explained. “This will help with officer safety, public safety, crime solvability, access to information. When you put all of that together in one place there is nothing but an absolute win for everybody.”

Pinellas County has been working to upgrade their 9-1-1 system for the past 10 years, but county leaders say the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida called attention to the need for agencies to share more information with one another.

The new PRIME 911 system will be fully up and running within 18 months. The next step is to connect the entire Tampa Bay region into one system.

Pinellas County leaders will pay $9.3 million up front for the startup costs and first two years of operation. Costs will be shared between Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, the county’s emergency services team and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office over the long-term.