911 Ad Hoc Committee Plans to Push for Study

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Published on September 25 2012 11:23 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

An ad hoc committee of the Effingham County 911 Board plans to push for funding for a study of the 911 system.

The committee held its initial meeting Tuesday morning and chairman Norbert Soltwedel said he "strongly supports" getting the study done.  Soltwedel said, "A contractor has no vested interest.  We need outside the box thinking.  I also feel credibility is a factor (with 911).  We're here to serve the public, so let's look at it from their perspective."

Other ad hoc committee members agreed with Soltwedel, but maybe for a different reason.  City Police Chief Mike Schutzbach is a member of the 911 Board and he's heard criticism of the 911 operation for many years.  Schutzbach said a study would address the complaints and perhaps vindicate those who operate 911, that they are doing well.

Soltwedel has heard the contention that "if it's not broken, don't fix it" when it comes to 911.  His point is that those directly involved in operating the system might be too close to the situation.  He said, "You are on the inside and think you're doing a fine job, but there are those on the outside who don't feel that way.  Sometimes when we work in government, we get a different view of things."

The committee members seemed to agree that they want a study to be under the auspices of 911, rather than the City or the County, although seeking funding help from other entities might still be a possibility.  Grants will also be considered to fund the study and private funding sources might be pursued.

A committee to study consolidating the two 911 dispatching stations was developed recently but the County Board voted against getting the study done and the City Council then voted against moving ahead once the County Board voted No.  That puts the ball back in 911's court.

The ad hoc committee will next meet on Tuesday, October 9 at 10am.  That's the morning of the next full 911 board meeting.  Committee members plan to review a proposal put together by Soltwedel that borrows from the consolidation study, but also includes comments he's received from members of the public about the 911 system.