By Josh Troy
Several street names and addresses are not updated in the Coahoma County Emergency Management 9-1-1 system, and officials are looking to do something about it. Suppose the Emergency Management Agency office receives a call for something, and the correct address is not in the system. In that case, officials may not be able to find the location of the emergency. Emergency Management Agency Director Charles Hale spoke to the Board of Supervisors about updating all street names and addresses for the 9-1-1 system at Monday’s meeting.
“We were supposed to get together and have a collective meeting,” he said. “I would like to check on whenever the board has time, so we can meet and start looking at those.” District 1 Supervisor Paul Pearson said an hour or so should be set aside to meet about updating the addresses and street names. “We really need to work on this 9-1-1 now,” he said.
“We’ve got some issues all over the County.” Hale agreed. A church near Coahoma Community College caught on fire in Oct. 2022, but the EMA dispatch was unable to see a physical address. District 5 Supervisor Roosevelt Lee said someone stopped him at Walmart and was upset the 9-1-1 system was not updated. “I said we’re working it out, trying to get it together,” he said.
“We really need to get that 9-1-1 right.” District 3 Supervisor Derrell Washington offered a suggestion. “I did some checking about a month or so ago with the emergency management person in Tunica County,” he said. “They were having this problem also. He said what they would normally do is they would contact the post office.” Washington said the post office could set up a mailbox or something in front of a home.
Hale said addresses still need to be recognized in the 9-1-1 system. “Another thing we have to do is we’ve got to do an updated map,” he said. Tax Assessor/Collector Ann Williams said there were communication issues between Coahoma County officials and municipalities. She noted that until recently, she was unaware that the City of Clarksdale changed the name of Confederate Street to Faith Street in Dec. 2020.
“I think a lot of times, what happens is it’s a communication barrier between the towns and our office,” she said. “If the towns vote to change a street, it’s not communicated to us. I just heard that Clarksdale changed Confederate Street to Faith, and I had never heard that. There needs to be more communication there. We can only change it if we know about it or if the taxpayer comes in to say, my street has changed. But we don’t have any notification of what changes happen unless I happen to drive through a town and see it myself and know it was that street.
“There needs to be a conversation with the towns in the small municipalities to come to us and notify us of the changes of the addresses. We go on what we already have on the computer.” Pearson said municipalities need to have a list of what they must do before changing any street name in Coahoma County. Williams agreed.
“There is no established process that I know of,” she said. “If you do it in your town, it needs to come to the board, to the County to approve that and spread across the minutes so we can know that it is happening and pass it on to our office.” Coahoma County Road Manager Otis Griffin said he has received calls from Friars Point and Jonestown residents about their packages going to other peoples’ homes. He mentioned a specific conversation with a Jonestown resident. “She got upset because another street in Jonestown had gotten her package,” he said.
Pearson said Lyon, Coahoma, Jonestown, and Friars Point all have post office boxes for regular mail. “So they don’t get mail delivered to the house,” he said. District 2 Supervisor Pat Davis suggested Hale, Williams, and County Administrator Kim Seals all get together to work on updating addresses and street names for the Emergency Management 9-1-1 system.
Davis said, in his district, a street name was changed in Friars Point, and, at first, County officials were not aware of it. “Nothing bad happened that I know of, but we had to go to EMA,” he said. Washington said a meeting time should be scheduled soon to discuss updating the addresses. “We’ve been talking about this problem for months and months, but you know we always said we’re going to meet again,” he said. District 4 Supervisor and Board President Johnny Newson said a list should be compiled with everyone who would be at the meeting.