Solution to phone issue at Ector County Courthouse can't come fast enough for employees

Solution to phone issue at Ector County Courthouse can't come fast enough for employees
(Source: KWES)

ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - A dial-tone next to your alarm is probably one of the more frustrating sounds you can hear.

Employees in Ector County who've had to call the courthouse have heard the same sound or nothing at all for almost a month now.

"This is a major public safety issue," Bobby Bland, Ector County District Attorney said.

Bland works in the courthouse and not being able to make calls affects his office.

"We can't call out. We can't receive calls, so the public can't call us about their cases," Bland said.

It also has been affecting victims of crimes. Bland advises his lawyers to never use their cell phones.

Think about this, Bland says 3600 felony cases are filed with his office over the last few years, 1800 of them involves victims.

"We contact them and try to tell them what's going on with their case. You can't do that with just an email, if you tell them something is going on with a case and you don't explain it to them, they won't understand," said Bland.

A solution to everyone's problem is coming, Ector County commissioners voted 4-1 to use equipment from Momentum Telecommunications, a company based in Kentucky with some offices in Texas.

"We felt we needed to take decisive action and fix the problem and I think we will with this system," said Ron Eckert, Ector County Judge.

Employees have had a lot of gripes about the courthouse, but after this experience, a working phone is something they won't take for granted anymore.

"I've never realized how much you rely on a phone and how simple phone technology should be," said Bland.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Dale Childers tells us the county will pay a three-year lease to Momentum.

He says officials are planning a temporary fix by the end of the week that will allow some outgoing calls.

The commissioners hope to eventually fix all the phone lines across the county not just the courthouse.

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