Sikeston, Scott County discuss consolidated 911 services

Sunday, January 22, 2012

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Setting up an up-to-date, consolidated E-911 center may cost seven figures.

Officials from the city of Sikeston and Scott County met Thursday with AT&T representatives to discuss preliminary cost estimates to set up a communications center that would take E-911 calls and dispatch for both the city and county.

As setting up the center will mean purchasing new 911 equipment, computer-aided dispatching software and a records management system that all work together, "I think we're looking at a million dollars," said Drew Juden, director of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety. "We need to look at how we cost share that."

Juden later added that he believes the city and county should "split it down the middle."

Brent Trease, technical sales consultant for AT&T, and Todd Karl, an AT&T account manager for public safety/E-911 solutions, presented pricing information from two 911 equipment vendors and one computer-aided dispatching vendor.

"AT&T has several different vendors we can work with," Karl said.

Karl said they are only able to present "baseline pricing" until they get to the "nuts and bolts" of what exactly is needed. He said it is important "to make sure all the components are included."

One potential 911 equipment vendor was ruled out as the company is not able to integrate its equipment with the department's existing phone system. Juden said having two phones at each of the dispatching workstations is not an acceptable option.

In reviewing the pricing information, local officials noted some items will not be needed.

Juden said, for example, that the new department headquarters will already have workstation cabling in place.

Dave Warren, city network administrator, said the city's network already has anti-virus software and shouldn't have to purchase that, either. "There's no reason why we should manage two anti-virus programs on one network," he said.

One feature which local officials should consider, according to Trease, would enables the vendor to remotely monitor the system and even fix some problems remotely. "That is not required, but it is recommended," he said.

In discussing RMS products, Sikeston Department of Public Safety Capt. Mike Williams said these systems typically have about a dozen management categories such as booking, jail, evidence, accidents, incident reports and citations.

Juden said a new RMS purchase should also include bar code scanning for evidence and electronic signature features.

"We don't have that right now and it is one of the things we would really like to have," he said.

In regards to a time table for the project, a decision on the city and county consolidating E-911 services needs to be reached "sooner rather than later," Juden said. "We need to have our minds made up by the 1st of March."

He explained that date would provide enough time to get everything in place so they can switch the new system on immediately upon moving into the department's new building in July rather than having a "cut" from an old system to a new system.

Scott County Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn asked about the ability to bring in additional entities in the future as he expects other cities or counties will want to come aboard. "We're going to have a beautiful 911 system," he said.

Trease said the system will be sized for current needs but "it's so modular and easy to grow."

The next step will be to bring in vendors for demonstrations of their systems while local officials decide on exactly which features are needed, according to the AT&T representatives.

Trease said they should be able to arrange the demo visits within the next two weeks. "No more than three or four, we hope," he said,

Juden said they don't need the visits to be scheduled on any particular day of the week. "I think this project is so important, we'll make ourselves as flexible as we can," he said.

Karl said he would also like to arrange visits to locations that are currently using the systems so local officials can see them operating live.

Trease said the city and county are fortunate to be working together on this project.

"That doesn't happen a lot of places," he said.

Pertinent address:

Sikeston, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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