A Waynesville native has been hired as the new E9-1-1 director for Piatt County, a position that has been empty since the retirement of Jim Cripe on June 28.

Tim Furman, 26, was unanimously approved by the county board on Wednesday morning, and will start Sept. 26. The 2011 Olympia High School graduate has worked in emergency services in various capacities, including his most recent role as a CenCom dispatcher in DeWitt County. He is also the EMS captain for the Waynesville Fire Protection District.

“I'm elated. I'm almost speechless to think of this so early in my career. I'm excited to take it and run with it,” Furman told the county board.

Speaking for the Emergency Telephone System Board that conducted the search, Piatt County Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Dobson said, “he comes highly recommended by his supervisor, Tony Harris, who some of us have been working in regards to ongoing future projects that Piatt County and DeWitt County are working on together.

“I am very confident that Tim Furman is the right pick for us, the best match for us, and someone who will be able to help us work well with our partner counties in terms of the future and the projects that we have going on to make communications and notifications better for Piatt County,” added Dobson.

Furman describes himself as tech savvy, which will come in handy with the conversion to Next Generaton 9-1-1, a state requirement by July of 2020 for every emergency answering system. Piatt County is in the midst of making that conversion, which will give dispatchers the ability to communicate with callers through text, video, even FaceTime if the caller agrees.

The system will also tie into the precise CAD system the county already uses for mapping purposes.

Furman called current equipment installation a “great ground floor to build on for the future,” and sees the ability to receive texts as the logical first step.

“I foresee the first thing coming being text response. So, someone could send a picture, saying 'hey this is what I'm looking at.' If texting is all you've got, it will help. In the future there could be FaceTiming and things like that,” he said.

Besides his most recent job in DeWitt County, Furman also worked for emergency services at the Mitsubishi auto plant in Normal and for the emergency room at BroMenn Healthcare in Bloomington.

Dobson said 16 applications were submitted for the opening, which were narrowed down and interviews conducted.

The process was delayed after concern was shown over alleged procedural missteps in the original search, prompting the ETSB to start the process over.

Cripe had been the only 9-1-1 director for the county, serving for 21 years prior to his retirement.