Spence: 911 backup center nears completion

By AUTUMN HUGHES
Posted 8/23/18

The Bradley County Emergency Communications District’s backup 911 center is nearing completion, the district’s board of directors was told on Wednesday.

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Spence: 911 backup center nears completion

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The Bradley County Emergency Communications District’s backup 911 center is nearing completion, the district’s board of directors was told on Wednesday.

Board Chairman Troy Spence, who serves as the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency director, said work on the backup center is continuing.

“We’re real close on the backup center,” Spence said, adding AT&T is slated to complete installation of the fiber optics and test it today and Friday.

The backup 911 center, located on the second floor of the Cleveland Police Department, was approved in 2017 by the 911 board of directors to serve not only as a backup, but additional site to assist the present center should it be necessary in certain situations.

In May, Spence noted the backup 911 center will have the same capabilities as the primary 911 center. In July, he said installation of fiber optics and a router for the backup center remained to be done.

“Once that’s in place then the backup center will be fully standalone,” Spence said.

Bradley County 911 Emergency Communications Center Director Sherri Maxfield said the test of the network operations center, or NOC, is set for Sept. 6.

“So on Sept. 6 we hope to have the backup center up and running, independent from (the main 911 center),” Spence said.

The board also recognized outgoing members, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, for their service during Wednesday’s meeting. Watson was not present at the meeting, but Rowland accepted his plaque and said the Bradley County Emergency Communications District is an important way that local governments can work together.

“This is proof we can get along,” he said.

Lindsay Hathcock, executive assistant to Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, said Davis was unable to attend the board meeting but “on behalf of Mayor Davis, thank you for your service.”

Board Attorney Michael Mahn thanked Rowland not only for his local participation with the Bradley County Emergency Communications District, but also at the state level with the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations.

“Mayor, thank you so much for your leadership there,” he said.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a budget amendment to pay $17,000 for Charter Communications cable/internet charges. Finance Committee Chairman David Benton said the charge is for connecting the 911 center and the backup 911 center. The charges were not budgeted in the approved 2018-19 fiscal year budget, he added.

“We started paying it in July,” Benton said of the approximately $1,400-per-month charge.

“We have been receiving the service for about a year and a half before we started receiving the bill,” said Maxfield, adding she was not involved with or aware of the service charge until now.

• Approved up to $12,000 for the immediate replacement of a generator and repair of a control panel at the main 911 center.

Jeff Gunter, operations officer for the Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, said last week EMA ran a full-load test on the generator and lost 1-1/2 gallons of radiator fluid. He said the repair contract for the generator is through the state.

“We’re going to have to replace that,” he said, adding preliminary costs are $5,080 for the radiator, while he has two quotes for the generator control panel: one for approximately $10,000 for a Caterpillar brand and one for $6,394 for an “off-brand that will work just as good.”

“We have to get that generator fixed right now,” Gunter said.

911 Board member Ron Harrison said considering the critical nature of the equipment, he made the motion to approve up to $12,000 to begin immediate repairs. The motion was unanimously approved.

Gunter said an electrical issue damaged the 911 center’s copy machine and an air conditioning unit – which were quickly detected – but it apparently also damaged the generator and control panel. Maxfield noted she has an open insurance claim on the damaged equipment.

• Heard from Maxfield that the 911 center’s dispatch room went “live” with the new TriTech CAD on Tuesday, at 5 a.m.

“This is the result of seven months of intense training, planning and database building by our project management team with the cooperation and assistance of the departments we dispatch for,” Maxfield said.

She added the system is “very new and very different than what (dispatchers) are used to” so the work speed has been a bit slower than usual. However, she expects that won’t last long.

Maxfield also recognized the TriTech personnel who have worked on the project: project manager Cheryl McIntyre, business analyst and trainer Bill McConnell, mobile data specialist John Norman and GIS specialist Randy Walter.

McConnell was present for the meeting and said “this has been one of the best projects I’ve worked on in the past four years … everybody’s worked really good as a team.” He will return in about three weeks for a review of the system in operation and “we’ll make sure everything’s good.”

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