COVINGTON — The Newton County Chamber of Commerce and the Covington-Newton County 911 Communications Department had a large turnout for the new 911 Emergency Call Center ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday morning.

The new center is located at the Covington Fire Station #22 on Alcovy Road.

“This is a great move forward,” said Covington Fire Chief Jeremy Holmes. “With this move, our guys will get more hands-on training and see what really happens behind the scenes and overall will gain more knowledge from 911 just being here. We are ready to get started.”

Representatives from the Porterdale Police, Covington Police, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Covington Council, Newton County Board of Commissioners and many more were present.

“This is just the beginning of a great operation,” said Sheriff Ezell Brown. “I know all the hard work will continue and that this team will continue to meet the county’s needs.”

The Center’s training room features eight individual call desks/systems, each equipped with six monitors controlled by one keyboard and open radio dispatch lines.

“Glad to see that the county and city are consistently moving forward,” said Porterdale Police Chief Jason Cripps.

“We are thankful for the 911 communications team and this facility,” said Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton. “Here, the equipment can be kept safe and the team will be provided with a great place to work so that they can continue to do what they need to do behind the scenes, because without their call, we wouldn’t be able to make ours.”

The Covington-Newton County 911 Center, as public safety servants, is comprised of people dedicated to preserving the value of life of all citizens of, and visitors to, the community.

Dispatchers respond to emergency and non-emergency situations to provide the vital link between public safety and the citizens who need assistance.

“I just want to say thank you to all first responders,” said Mayor Ronnie Johnston. “I’ve felt guilty about the environment you all were working in ... your work ethic is commendable and I just want you to know I support you for what you’ve had to put up with. I am proud that you get to call this your new home.”

The decision to move the 911 Center from its previous facility on Geiger Street was made after issues were raised about the building, including raw sewage seeping out into the parking lot, rodents, mold, vagrants in the parking lot, car break-ins, lack of heat and more.

Ending all remarks, 911 Communications Director Trudy Henry said she was grateful to have everyone’s support. “This is very exciting,” said Henry. “My team is very thankful for this new facility and have expressed they no longer have anxiety. I appreciate my staff’s hard work and everyone who has supported us.”

The Chamber’s next ribbon-cutting ceremony will be at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office Westside Precinct on Salem Road on Nov. 7 at 11 a.m.

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