Editorial for 19 April: 911 crew should take a bow

 It is sometimes said that change comes slowly to the Cayman
Islands.

That may be so in some situations, but it is certainly not
the case with the Cayman Islands 911 Emergency Centre, which has undergone a
complete transformation within the past four years.

Although specific details about centre operations, including
its location, are not typically disclosed in the public for security reasons,
we are going to mention just a few items for the purposes of this editorial.

Since 2008, the 911 centre, without much of an increase in
staff until recently, has added both the electronic monitoring function (ankle
tags for prisoners), computer aided dispatch and an on-screen monitoring system
for the Island-wide closed circuit television camera surveillance of public
areas. That system is now almost fully operational with more than 200 cameras
involved in overt surveillance.

The 911 centre’s website – for those who care to visit it –
is also kept constantly updated with information including records of dispatch
locations for emergencies and valuable data about police, fire and ambulance
responses.

Time was when the country was talking about needing
additional space, even a new building to fit out the 911 operation. However,
budget constraints came down on the government and emergency centre officials
were left to do more with less.

They have certainly succeeded.

The CCTV cameras are broadcasting clear, effective images of
the areas they cover. The electronic monitoring system is kept on screen
constantly in the centre and activates a warning signal should something go
wrong with a prisoner’s ankle tag or if that person should wander outside their
designated “safe area”.

All in all, Cayman Islands emergency communications have
taken leaps and bounds into the 21st Century. Most of us may not stop to think
about all this in our daily lives. We simply expect 911 and its related
emergency services to be there when they call.

We now have confidence that they will; today, and in the
future, thanks to the efforts of the employees and managers in the country’s
911 system.