911 board lowers funds request to BOE

Published 1:58 pm Friday, November 11, 2022

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By JOYANNA LOVE |Managing Editor

The Chilton County 911 Board presented a lower request for funding to the Chilton County Board of Education during the 911 board meeting on Nov. 10.

The school system has had a contract in the past to contribute funding to the P25 radio emergency communications system since the school buses are using it. That contract has ended.

During the Nov. 10 meeting, 911 board chair Jimmie Hardee said numbers have been reworked again by Trae Caton, who is overseeing the P25 project, to bring the BOE’s contribution down to $95,000 a year for 10 years. He said this is down from the original request of $130,000 a year.

Caton said the $95,000 includes $67,483 toward the cost of building the system and $27,517 toward maintenance cost. After 10 years, there would only be maintenance costs.

“I understand if you can’t do it,” Hardee said. “That is a decision that you all have to make.”

He said the commission has already made its decision to support moving forward with completing the P25 system.

Hardee highlighted how having direct communication with the 911 dispatch center keeps students safer.

Consoles have already been ordered that will allow bus drivers to connect with the 911 dispatch center with just the push of a button.

BOE member Lori Patterson asked who would maintain the system.

Caton said the infrastructure would be serviced and maintained by Motorola. Caton will be the local point person.

“I appreciate Trae’s efforts, just his knowledge and his information,” Hardee said. “… I want to thank you Trae for your hard work.”

Insurance would cover weather-related damages.

He said the system will be upgraded every two years as a part of the current county contract with Motorola. These upgrades would be done directly through the system and usually do not cause a disruption in service.

The P25 system is interoperable, meaning the radios used by local emergency responders and law enforcement would automatically connect to other county’s P25 systems. Sheriff John Shearon said this is an asset if there is a police chase that spans multiple counties.

Several counties in Central Alabama are moving toward this system, and Caton said Shelby County spent “$500,000 that they didn’t have to spend, just so we could use their towers.”

The system allows for multiple channels for emergency personnel to communicate. When complete, up to 32 people will be able to talk on the various channels at one time.

This allows different departments responding to the same scene to be able to communicate with one another.

Chilton County Board of Education is set to vote on a memorandum of understanding with the 911 Board as a part of its consent agenda at its Nov. 15 meeting at 6 p.m.