By Josh Troy
The Coahoma County Board of Supervisors took the first step in updating the emergency management agency 9-1-1 system at a special meeting Tuesday morning. The board unanimously voted to hire EISGIS Principal and Project Manager Scott Trapolino out of Walls to update the geographic information system map for a contract not expected to exceed $30,000. Trapolino said EMA first responders are using a map from 2010, and street names and addresses have changed since then. He added that he took data available for a County GIS map that could eventually be on the web and updated when street names and addresses change.
In order to make the GIS map as current as possible, Trapolino said the first step is to find areas where many streets and addresses need to be updated. For the past six years, Trapolino said he has been working on a GIS map with DeSoto County. “It’s time-consuming to update this, to be honest,” he said. “This is not something you can just throw together in six months, and it’s a living document.”
Trapolino said Coahoma County is one of many communities using a map from several years ago. “It’s very scary, and I’ve seen it all over the state,” he said. District 1 Supervisor Paul Pearson addressed issues that occur when municipalities within the County change a street name. “We just recently had a situation where a street name got changed in Clarksdale, and I don’t think everything involved was notified,” he said. “All of that stuff is wonderful, but there’s got to be some checks and balances here.”
Trapolino said each city should have a representative. “That representative will build them a map just like this of their city,” he said. “This is to save lives, and that’s what you have to emphasize to everybody that’s involved.” Tax Assessor Ann Williams said her office and emergency management need to be notified when a street name is changed. Then, she said, the road department could make a sign with the new name.
“It needs to start at the top level with that municipality,” she said. “If they’re going to change that street or whatever, it must come to the board.” County Administrator Kim Seals mentioned there were issues when part of Ritchie Ave. was changed to Seals Ave.
District 3 Supervisor Derrell Washington said that in Jonestown, things have been mailed to the wrong address because the system was not updated. County Road Manager Otis Griffin said he had one last complaint about a UPS package going to the wrong house. “Another lady said she had a neighbor that was sick, and an ambulance went to the wrong house because of the address,” he said. “This is serious.”
County Fire Chief Stanley Lynom said that in the past, the name was changed for approximately four streets in Friars Point, and the system was not updated right away. Trapolino said it took a while to get things going in DeSoto County, but now he gets 15 to 20 notifications a month about a change on the GIS map. “Once you build this map, push it out, and call it the authoritative data set, people will buy into it,” he said.
Another issue Lynom mentioned was that several streets in Coahoma County have the same name, and he noted there is more than one street with the name Martin Luther King. “You don’t want duplication of names and road addresses within (the County),” Trapolino said. “Those are the things we’re going to identify doing this.”
Trapolino said he would meet with the EMA 9-1-1 department, Williams and Griffin, to identify issues. “One thing I would not do is change any addresses within the next six months,” he said. “We need to identify where the deficiencies are, and we kind of already saw that.” Trapolino said members could voluntarily come into one of the County offices and notify officials if they see a street name or address that still needs to be updated on the map.