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911 center call volume up
Total calls minimally increase by .5 percent from 2007 to 2008
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Newton County has continued to experience growth, but the amount of calls for assistance to Covington/Newton County 911 went up only slightly in 2008 according to numbers released in their annual report.

Calls for service passed the 100,000 mark but calls for assistance increased by only .55 percent in 2008. The total calls generated by Covington Police were 27,209, Georgia State Patrol generated 93, Animal Control generated 899, Newton County Sheriff's Office generated 58,077, Oxford Police generated 1,731 and Porterdale Police generated 4,437 calls.

Newton County, Covington and Oxford fire departments generated a total of 7,100 which is 6.72 percent and Newton EMS had 9,170 calls, which is 7.89 percent.

Compared to 2007, law calls (CPD, NCSO, Animal Control PPD, OPD and GSP) increased by 143 calls or .15 percent, while fire calls were down by 2.3 percent - or 167 calls - but EMS calls increased by 636, or 7.45 percent.

According to the report, calls for service which come in on land lines are still higher than cell phone calls, but wireless calls continue to steadily gain on landline calls.

In 2005, a Special Local Option Sales Tax $6 million was allocated for public safety radio and data interoperability projects and in 2008 all agencies switched their radio communication to OpenSky radio from M/A-COM which cost approximately $4.6 million. Although the cost was steep, OpenSky is one of the most advanced radio systems available and allows all agencies in Newton County to communicate without a hitch. Agencies switched to this system in August.

The data system for the 911 center was also expanded at a cost of $1.2 million and allows for all public safety agencies in the county to communicate seamlessly. First responders also have more up-to-date information available at a much faster rate than under the previous system, which helps residents when they are in need of assistance. The system became fully operational in 2008.