Texas County Emergency Services personnel stand last Wednesday with Romines Motor Co. co-owner Don Romines in front of a 2017 Ford Escape the agency purchased for mapping purposes. From left, Romines, Texas County Emergency Services board member Jim McNiell, Texas County 911 dispatchers Susan Hale and Terra Culley and Texas County Emergency Services board chairperson Carol Ann Freeman.

Since the Texas County Emergency Services (TCES) 911 call center in downtown Houston went “live” in late July of 2015, its personnel have performed the task of mapping addresses around the county in their own vehicles.

But now the agency has its own vehicle for that purpose, after purchasing a 2017 Ford Escape last Wednesday from Romines Motor Co. in Houston.

TCES board member Jim McNiell said bids were taken from Romines and Wehr Ford in Mountain Grove, and Romines bid lowest.

TCES qualified for a state bid, and the price of the vehicle was $21,824.72.

“911 has never had a vehicle of their own,” McNiell said. “Getting something like this is probably long overdue and we’re excited about it. We were very conscious of dealing locally if we could do it.”

“We’re proud to provide a vehicle for a local service that’s as important as 911,” said Romines co-owner Don Romines.

The process leading up to the center’s existence began in 2012 when Wright County announced the ending of a two-county Wri-Tex 911 operation than began in the mid-1990s. Texas County’s exclusive system took off in April 2013 with voter approval of a 3/8-cent retail sales tax to fund it, and a new call center began operation in late July of 2015.

Texas County 911 continued serving Wright County until the Wright County Emergency Communications Center in Mountain Grove – know as Wri-Comm 911 – began operation Aug. 31 of this year.

TCES board chairperson Carol Ann Freeman chairperson helped launch Wri-Tex 911 and was its director for many years. She said it’s a good thing for the still fledgling agency to have a dedicated vehicle.

“I wore a car out back in the day,” Freeman said.

Freeman said TCES is in good shape, all things considered.

“There are still a few little bugs, but it’s really good right now,” she said.

While Texas County 911 dispatches for only one county, many other duties have been taken on since the split with Wright County, including dispatching for city police, highway patrol and more.

“We took on a lot more responsibility,” Freeman said. “But we have really good working relations with all the departments.”

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