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Monday, Dec. 22, 2014

County focuses on E-911 center

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

BENTON -- Moving Scott County's E-911 dispatch call center to the new communication center at the county jail once again was the focus for County Commissioners during their regular meeting Tuesday.

"We're on the right track and on schedule if SBC doesn't hold us up," said Joe Burton, emergency management director.

Burton reported that SBC activated lines and completed other miscellaneous small tasks at the jail last week in preparation for setting up the new dispatching equipment there. They are now programming the equipment in St. Louis.

"Apparently all they have to do is bring the equipment in and set it down," he said.

Burton said he reminded SBC officials that everything must be billed by Nov. 30 for the county to meet Homeland Security grant requirements. "That's got to be done," he said.

E-911 dispatchers will continue to operate from the call center in Morley until a workstation is up and operational at the new dispatching center in the jail, according to Burton. He said arrangements have been made with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety to act as a backup answering site in the event that something goes wrong during the switch.

A flow chart showing the chain of command for the Scott County Communication Center was presented by County Developer Joel Evans.

Officials also discussed hiring and firing protocols and other personnel issues related to the new dispatching center.

With the new equipment coming in, Burton suggested the county look into getting some new record management software for the sheriff's department.

He said the sheriff is currently leasing a program for $12,500 per year that stores data in a format that isn't compatible with other programs.

Burton said a lease-purchase for some new software would cost $6,000 per year less that the current software and would belong to the county after five years. The new software can do things like check for warrants automatically which must be done manually using the current software. "It does a lot more," he said.

In other business Tuesday:

* Commissioners approved Evans' suggestion that he distribute copies of the county's Local Emergency Operation Plan by hand.

Commissioner Jamie Burger said it would be good to make contact with the recipients, "tell them what this is for."

The plans are slated to be ready today.

* The purchase of a printer and ink cartridges, a projector screen and camera equipment totaling $3,600 using the Web site development and marketing grant funds was approved.

The purchases came in $225 below the anticipated cost, Evans said.

* Usage of the county's Web site continues to be high, according to Evans.

He said he expects usage to go up even more as he adds features such as a "best in the county" section he is planning.

He explained Web site visitors will be able to vote for what they think is the best burger, best place to take a date or best view in the county.

* Burton updated commissioners on the latest emergency preparedness efforts.

The first Emergency Operation Center meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the dispatch center in the jail. About 15 county officers with emergency responsibilities will be asked to attend this first meeting, according to Burton.

A meeting has also been scheduled with a satellite phone company, he reported. The satellite phone subscription costs a minimum of $50 per month to keep the service active. The minimum package includes 50 minutes of air time.

Burton said he also has a list of amateur radio enthusiasts willing to help provide emergency communications.

Amateur radios are typically used to set up stations to send messages out of areas that have lost other communications during emergencies, according to Burton. "They're a very important asset to the county," he said.

Burton said he presently has about 15 emergency management volunteers trained to work as assistants or advisors for officials with emergency responsibilities.

He is now looking for someone to appoint as a damage assessment officer. The position would require construction experience and would evaluate damaged structures in an emergency.

Unlike volunteer firefighters, with emergency volunteers "it is hard to hold people's interest," Burton said, as they may never be activated.