Progress on the St. Francois County 911 Communications Center expansion and remodeling project is right on schedule, according to an update heard by the county’s 911 board of directors as it met in regular session Wednesday morning at Desloge City Hall.
Brockmiller Construction is overseeing the approximately $2.5 million job and, according to 911 Communications Director Alan Wells, the crew is making fast work of it.
“Things are looking great,” said Wells, in answer to a question about the current state of the project asked by board member Ginger Taylor. “[The workers] are hanging steel today. They’ve only had three weather days so far because of the rain.”
Mark Allen, co-chair of the board’s Operations/Construction Committee, agreed with Wells’ assessment that the project is moving along at a good pace, despite the weather.
“We actually just came out of a building and construction meeting and the building is going up and it’s looking good,” he said. “We’re pretty much on schedule. Now, of course, everybody wants their money. Brockmiller has submitted a bill of $217,605.60.”
Wells said, “That will be the second payout to Brockmiller.”
The board of directors unanimously approved the payment.
In his Public Safety Committee report, Wells discussed a recent meeting held with the committee, along with representatives from local police, fire and EMS agencies, to consider moving forward with 911’s new CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatch) system’s silent dispatch component once it’s gone live.
Briefly explaining the silent dispatch system, Wells said, “Today in our environment we have our CAD system that the operator uses where they put the 911 caller’s information in, but that’s as far as it is. Then they dispatch out to our two-way radio system.
“With silent dispatching, once the operators put that directly into this CAD system, it will come directly to [emergency responders] in their vehicle or at their fingertips, not waiting for the two-way radio system. They can actually see the call incident at their fingertips to call and they can actually put themselves in route to the scene by using a computer laptop versus everything going over a traditional two-way radio.”
Wells added that it was the committee’s intention to provide local police, fire and EMS agencies with enough equipment to get started with the silent dispatch system, if possible.
“We researched the market for mobile data terminals and the resources to put out to the agencies who are going to want to use them in their squad cars, ambulances and fire apparatus,” he said. “We had one presentation by a company the other day. The second one was yesterday that just a few of us attended because it was the exact same product — just another vendor.
“Once we finish our research, we’ll come back to the board with a recommendation of what the administration feels that may be a good direction we may want to take. We’ll probably present that to you in June or July.”
He said they are still researching to see what kind of dollars may be left under some of these other projects.
“We may ask the board to entertain using those dollars that were already earmarked for projects that we can use for this, which is really an extension of the CAD system. We’re thinking just moving around dollars under our project action list and put them here so we can assist some of these departments out the gate. We’ll see what those dollars can pay for if y’all are willing to assist out the gate and then whatever additional ones they need or want they’ll have to figure into their budgets.”
In discussion by the board about how the purchased equipment would be divided up by the departments, board member and Desloge Police Chief James Bullock said that all should receive the same number — no matter the size of the department.
“That’s the only fair way,” he said.
The board agreed that was the best way to handle the situation and that if there is equipment left over after everyone has received their share, it can be given out to other departments upon the agreement of the board. Also, if a department is given equipment, but it isn’t used within a specified period of time, it will have to be returned to the board for other departments to use.
“We actually just came out of a building and construction meeting and the building is going up and it’s looking good.” — Mark Allen, SFC 911 Board
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org