Oct. 16--Glynn County commissioners learned Tuesday the $800,000 they will be asked to approve to upgrade the 911 system is just the beginning of what it's going to cost to fully modernize the system.
The county will have spent a lot more by the time it updates and improves the dispatch center's computer and phone technologies.
The commission, meeting in a work session Tuesday at the Harold Pate building, is scheduled to vote on the initial costs when it meets at 6 p.m. Thursday at the old county courthouse, 701 G St.
Those initial costs are $401,218 for a new call handling system, equipment and software from AT&T, and another $401,543 for a new computer-aided dispatch system, computers and technology from Spillman Technologies.
The commission's finance committee previously approved the initial expenses at its meeting Oct. 8.
The city of Brunswick would contribute $83,457 of the costs.
But future costs, including other improvements and system maintenance, are not included in the figures.
In his presentation to the commission, Glynn County Information Technology Director John Catron said the systems will bring local law enforcement to "next generation 911 standards," providing information never before seen in public safety response.
Catron petitioned for the purchase of the systems because he said the county's current phone and CAD systems are reaching the end of their usefulness. Much of the telephone equipment is no longer manufactured, and the software is borderline inefficient, he added.
"What's in it for Glynn County and Brunswick? We'll improve our ability to respond to emergencies," he said. "We'll have better data, which means we can manage these activities better and pinpoint where these activities are occurring."
Catron said the upgrades will result in quicker response times and better data for responding officers, essentially lowering the costs to the county in the long-term.
When the technology becomes available, the new phone system will also accept emergency notifications through more than just phone calls. The phone system will be capable of receiving text messages and video in the near future, he said.
In 2012, 70 percent of the 254,000 calls received by Glynn County E911 were from wireless phones, he said. The new technology will also make it easier to locate wireless callers in need of assistance.
County Administrator Alan Ours said the upgrades are integral to all the county's 911 systems. The research into which vendors to choose was an ongoing process, he said, but the county is finally ready.
Glynn County Commissioner Michael Browning said the costs do not include the switch from analog to digital radios for public safety officials, a nearly $7 million expenditure when approved. The costs also don't cover upgrading the equipment in the information technology department -- another $1 million project when it's undertaken in the future.
SBlt Reporter Kelly Quimby writes about government and other local topics. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 321.
(c)2013 The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.)
Visit The Brunswick News (Brunswick, Ga.) at www.thebrunswicknews.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services