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Jonesboro Gets Technical to Secure Citizens’ Safety (Public Safety | Honorable Mention)

2 min read

The city of Jonesboro, which encompasses more square mileage (80.5) than metropolitan cities St. Louis and Cincinnati, is taking a proactive approach to maintaining public safety.

Use of cutting-edge technology is the root of Jonesboro’s effort to maintain an infrastructure that can support a population that is growing by three residents a day and is approaching 76,000.

Jonesboro has taken Arkansas’ Smart911 system to an elevated level of efficiency by adding enhanced mapping software, at a cost of $25,000, that allows call-takers and first responders to know where the emergency is occurring and how best to arrive on the scene.

Past mapping services, such as Google Maps or Waze, only showed dots identifying the driver and the location of the call. Now, call-takers and responders receive information on the most efficient route to the scene, including live traffic conditions and road closures.

Any call to 911 in Jonesboro can be plotted by the system to within 7 feet, and digital displays show precise map routes for each responder.

One offshoot of Smart911 is the Text911 program, which allows teachers and students throughout Craighead County to relay messages without voice calling when emergencies arise.

The Jonesboro Police Department fights crime by maintaining a strong force — competitive pay helps retention — and supplementing it with 200 graduates of the Citizen’s Police Academy to give Jonesboro extra sets of eyes and ears.

Jonesboro reports that there has been no significant spike in crime rates in a decade, even as the population continues to grow.

Four years ago, the Arkansas State Police assigned a $300,000 bomb squad truck to Jonesboro, and it includes two robots that can remove suspected devices through remote control.

The city’s fire department has maintained a Class 1 ISO rating by adding a new fire truck and a fifth fire station.

Fire Chief Kevin Miller said Jonesboro’s Opticom System has improved response time and cut down on stress of responders passing through heavily traveled intersections.

Fire Trucks are equipped with devices that allow for changing and controlling light signals at 26 intersections in Jonesboro during emergency runs.

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