New 911 communication towers will connect Dubuque County to neighboring counties

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) -- First responders in Dubuque County should soon have better coverage when responding to calls because the county is in the process of updating its 911 communications towers.

A 911 tower sits on top of the Dubuque Law Enforcement Center. The County is in the process of updating those towers. (Allison Wong, KCRG)

"Our current system that we're using is at its end of life," Tom Berger, Dubuque County Emergency Management Coordinator said. "The company quit making parts for it last year."

There are currently six towers across the county, but that's not enough, according to Berger. The new system will give the county 10 towers total.

He said, "we have some dead spots in some of the low-lying areas, along Heritage Trail, along the Mississippi River. So with the new 10 tower site system, we should be able to fill in some of those dead spots."

The new system will also connect Dubuque to nearby counties. Berger says that will be helpful if there's ever collaboration between counties on one major event.

"We’re going to be able to integrate with all our neighboring public safety entities and counties and provide those inoperable communications," he explained.

Mark Murphy, 911 Communication Manager, says the new system will also allow Dubuque to dispatch from other counties.

"If something were to happen here, we could go down to Cedar Rapids Police Department and we could dispatch our units here from Cedar Rapids," he said.

Construction on new tower sites will start this summer, which is costing the county $1.4 million. Responders should have full use of the new system next year.