WEST YELLOWSTONE -
Emergency officials are trying to come up with ways to improve the 911 system in West Yellowstone.
That was the focus of a town hall meeting on Wednesday afternoon.
The West Yellowstone 911 Advisory Board met for the first time to discuss the issues of the current 911 system.
Right now, the West Yellowstone Dispatch Center does everything by hand, from answering calls, dispatching and logging information.
Hebgen Basin Fire District Chief Scott Waldron, who is the board's chairman, said that makes it easy for mistakes to be made.
“It has the potential to have some errors in record keeping because they are all done manually and not time stamped computerized,” Waldron said.
Waldron said calls in West Yellowstone get complicated real fast when dealing with many agencies, especially during the summer with the influx of tourists.
The West Yellowstone Dispatch Center deals with many agencies, including the Gallatin County Sheriff's Department, the Montana Highway Patrol, Yellowstone National Park, U.S. Forest Service and even more in Idaho.
The lack of technology has many residents, like Karrie Taggart, concerned.
“The lack of updated technology that they need, especially being in West Yellowstone where we have millions of people coming in,” Taggart said.
Waldron said the West Yellowstone 911 Advisory Board is hoping to bring up-to-date technology to the popular tourist town.
“Our goal is to look at what he have and help the town with that and work together to bring a better and more improved computer aided dispatch system to West Yellowstone,” said Waldron.
Since the West Yellowstone Dispatch Center is a part of the town's police department, the town is responsible for paying for a new system.
Surrounding agencies said they already computer aided dispatch systems in place. They said this system allows them to do their jobs more efficiently, increasing response times and reducing mistakes
Board members representing the West Yellowstone Dispatch Center said there are only six dispatchers. The town is currently in the process of hiring a head dispatcher. Once that person is hired, board members said they will be fully staffed.