Published On: Thu, Sep 5th, 2013

Commissioners discuss paying for new wireless 911 system

HARTINGTON — The county is again setting aside funds so they can continue making payments for the new 911 wireless system.

At their Aug. 27 meeting, the Cedar County Commissioners approved putting away 75 percent of the 911 funds they receive from the state. A motion for the set-aside was necessary Cedar County Clerk Dave Dowling told the Board.

The motion was made by District 1 Commissioner Terry Pinkelman and seconded by District 3 Commissioner Dave McGregor.

Last year, Garvin discussed with the Board the need for a new 911 system.

He told them the current one was at the end of its life and also could not handle the Next Generation 911 services.

The decision was then made to move forward with the idea. A crew spent 10 days installing the new equipment, which went live October 2012.

Kevin Garvin, the Cedar County emergency manager, said though the process took awhile, but they did receive some aid.

“The Norfolk Police Division attended several of our vendor demonstrations and collaborated with us,” he added.

With the old system, only landline locations could be accurately given, but wireless locations were not always known.

The new system provides telephone number identification from both wireless and landlines phones and pinpoints the caller’s location for the dispatcher who is taking the call.

This new equipment also has the capability to identify the fire district for the particular location and set off pagers for those particular emergency responders.

Garvin stressed the importance of Cedar County having the same service level as other agencies in the area.

If there is any equipment failure or if the 911 center would have to be abandoned for any reason, it would be difficult to maintain continuity of services because the equipment would not be technically compatible with neighboring counties.

“From a technical perspective, if your equipment is not at the level it needs to be, you will be either left behind or forced to upgrade in the future which is usually a more expensive proposition,” Garvin said.

The cost of the new E911 equipment for Cedar County is a about $200,000.

The next County Commissioners’ meeting will be Sept. 9, 2013 at the county courthouse.