Coroner requests texting for county-issued phones

PLYMOUTH — Marshall County Coroner Bill Cleavenger would like to be able to text on the job. Far from being a distraction, however, Cleavenger told county commissioners Monday that texting capabilities on his and his deputies’ county-issued cell phones would make their jobs easier and more efficient.
“Better than 99.5 percent of calls in the last three years have come through the county’s 911 center, and they use computer aided dispatch (CAD),” said Cleavenger.
He explained that CAD updates can only go out to phones that have texting capabilities. Since the coroner’s office does not have texting on their phones, they have to get their information about situations from a live person. This takes time, said Cleavenger, because often the dispatchers are very busy with other 911 calls.
“With CAD, we would have information instantly,” said Cleavenger. “By getting timely and more complete information, the coroner’s office is available to work more efficiently with other emergency responders.”
He added that his ideal situation would be to have a smart phone for at least one of the four phones the coroner’s office uses. That way, he and his deputies would be able to look up information pertaining to medication on the site of a death or other information using the phone’s web browser. Cleavenger said that on-the-go internet capability would aid his department’s investigations.
“Our main handicap right now is the inability to receive information from the CAD center,” said Cleavenger. “I can assure you that no matter what texting plan we are able to get, there will be no social networking or games, or whatever it is — that will be monitored closely.”
Commissioner Greg Compton commented that he believes a full data package through AT&T is about $20-30 additional per month per device.
“We’ll see what it would take to get you texting, but I don’t see any smart phones in the future, myself,” said commissioner Jack Roose.