Changes coming to McCracken-Paducah E911 center

Changes when you call 911 if you or your family needs help: At midnight, McCracken County will leave the former inter-local E911 agreement with Paducah.

County and city leaders have been negotiating whether Paducah and McCracken County would continue to manage the 911 center jointly or make a change.

The inter-local agreement between the county and the city has been extended for a month temporarily, which is really just a formality at this point. A copy of the new McCracken County budget, just recently passed, allocates $500,000 for 911 services. The county plans to contract 911 services from the city for some amount, but both parties are taking this month to negotiate how much. But come midnight, the county will no longer be a managing head.

Answering calls is what happens day in and day out at the Paducah E911 Center. Director Brent Stringer says they’ll answer your calls as they always have when the change comes at midnight.

“They’re going to be hearing the same voices if they called an hour before,” says Stringer.

Stringer says luckily for him the change is a formality, but the concern for your safety will never change. “Our job is to protect everyone who lives here, shops here, travels through here," he says. 

Dispatchers answer 170,000 calls a year here, and 55,000 of those are 911 calls.

McCracken County Judge Executive Bob Leeper says there was never a question about if there were going to be emergency services, but for how much they would cost. Leeper says that will take time to figure out.

“We’re working well with city officials to continue on through the transition,” says Leeper.

As for Stringer and his crew, the change is a positive one. “The employees will have an idea of who they belong to instead of a hybrid-type agency," he says.

The county still has not ruled out moving emergency services to the Kentucky State Police. Leeper says KSP is still working things out on the state level. Paducah leaders plan to vote on a contract with McCracken County in July. 

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