911 Officials Discuss Responsibility for Interoperability

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Published on April 10 2012 10:08 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm

Members of the Effingham County 911 Board's communications committee Tuesday agreed to see whether their vendor would continue maintaining 911's 800 megahertz system.  If so, the committee could turn its attention to what system to provide long-term.

Motorola told 911 several years ago that they would cease maintaining the 800 megahertz system, but they haven't stopped yet. The current maintenance system ends at the end of June, but 911 plans to seek a one-year extension of the maintenance agreement.  Randy Neal of Barbeck Communications, who does work for the 911 system, said he has replacement parts in stock.  Neal will check with Motorola about continuing the maintenance agreement at the same rate.

In the meantime, 911 has to decide how they'll dispatch the various emergency services agencies once 800 is no longer an option.

There's also discussion of what 911 should provide, and where the individual agencies should take over. No agreement was reached Tuesday, and Effingham County sheriff's deputies still are wondering what's to be done to provide them portable communication when they're out of their squad cars.

There was some discussion about replacing the consoles used by dispatchers, but both city police chief Mike Schutzbach and county chief deputy sheriff John Loy agreed that move won't fix the problems with those with portables being able to hear communications.

There's also disagreement whether additional towers or repeaters would correct the problem.  Loy said the various agencies should just agree to go the same channel to communicate with each other when they are on the same detail or covering the same incident.