The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Coordinator is the designated administrator of the Pinal County E 9-1-1 System. Sandra Gilstad is the 911 System Administrator.
The Pinal County E 9-1-1 System consists of five Public Safety Answering Points, called PSAPs, and four remote 9-1-1 sites. The
Pinal County E 9-1-1 System PSAPs are:
- Pinal County Sheriff’s Office
- Casa Grande Police Department
- Coolidge Police Department
- Eloy Police Department
- Florence Police Department
The 9-1-1 remote sites are:
- Superior Police Department
- Mammoth Police Department
- Kearny Police Department
- Ak-Chin Police Department
Although the city of Apache Junction along with certain incorporated portions of Queen Creek are within Pinal County, they fall within Maricopa County’s 9-1-1 System; therefore, continual communication with Maricopa Region 9-1-1 is needed to properly maintain these complicated parts of Pinal County. This same protocol is used with the Pima County 9-1-1 system as many emergency services responders for Pinal County originate out of Pima County agencies. Annexations by the town of Marana enhance the need for these protocols with Pima County 9-1-1. Portions of Gila County also fall within the Pinal County E 9-1-1 System due to telephone capabilities in these areas.
While most of Pinal County is designated as incorporated or unincorporated, the Pinal County E9-1-1 System is every entity in Pinal County regardless of community boundary or government status. The duties performed by the PCSO 9-1-1 Division affects every citizen within Pinal County, whether they live in Pinal County, work in Pinal County or play in Pinal County.
The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) 9-1-1 Division, through the direction of the 911 System Administrator, plans, directs, coordinates and budgets the activities of the Pinal County E9-1-1 System. The 9-1-1 Division does not handle emergency 9-1-1 calls. 9-1-1 calls are answered by the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
The PCSO 9-1-1 Division duties comprise of, but are limited to, the development and maintenance of the Master Street Address Guide (MSAG). The MSAG is the addressing database that supports the roughly109, 900 wire line telephone numbers assigned in Pinal County. (PCSOAZ TN extract, July 2007) This same database is also used to designate wireless cell tower addressing for use by Phase II technology.
Pinal County is an enhanced Phase II 9-1-1 System. For every landline 9-1-1 call, the call is able to be routed directly to the appropriate PSAP, is able to display the telephone number and address of the caller along with information describing the appropriate emergency responders for law enforcement, fire and medical.
For wireless (cellular) calls, the initial information provided to the emergency call taker is the location of the cell tower being “hit” at the time of the call. Once a “re-bid” is performed, the information sent to the emergency call taker is the approximate location of the caller provided by either GPS coordinates sent by the caller’s phone or through triangulation coordinates from cell towers. Due to our rural setting, not all areas of Pinal County can send the location of the caller although for the majority of the population this is possible.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones present additional concerns for the emergency call taker. The 9-1-1 system relies on the subscriber (you) to provide your correct address through your VoIP provider. If the VoIP subscriber moves and does not submit a change of address to the VoIP provider, their address will not be updated in the 9-1-1 system. For example, say Mrs. Jones moves from Florence to Florida. If Mrs. Jones does not update her address with her VoIP provider, when she places a 9-1-1 call, the Florence PD will receive her distress call not her local emergency responders in Florida. At this time, 9-1-1 technology does not allow for the transferring of 9-1-1 calls over state lines with the exception of special projects between neighboring agencies.
Part of being an enhanced Phase II 9-1-1 System is the ability for the 9-1-1 call to interact with GIS mapping. When a 9-1-1 call is received by the emergency call taker, the location of the caller either by physical address, GPS coordinates or triangulation coordinates plots on a GIS map of Pinal County. All addressing information, either presented through a traditional addressing scheme such as a home address or GPS coordinates, will be populated on a GIS map to provide a visual location of the caller within an uncertainty factor (generally measured in meters). The PCSO 9-1-1 Division works closely with multiple State, County, municipal and private agencies in order to ensure accurate and up-to-date information for the protection of all citizens within Pinal County.
In addition to MSAG and GIS, additional duties are the coordinating of equipment upgrades and installations for Pinal County E 9-1-1 entities along with contract, billing or budgetary concerns. For Fiscal Year 2007, the Pinal County E 9-1-1 System budget was approximately $1,546,000.00. Currently through a state 9-1-1 tax on your telephone bill, the state of Arizona covers all costs associated to the 9-1-1 system until such time funds are no longer available. Due to a reduction in the tax (originally $0.37/month, now $0.20/month), the State 9-1-1 Fund faces a potential deficit by FY10. Changes in the tax can only happen through legislation. When State funds are no longer available to pay the costs associated with a 9-1-1 system, those costs revert to the local entities for payment.