The O’Fallon City Council on Monday passed a resolution authorizing the transfer of $250,000 from its general fund reserve account to help purchase new equipment and for building updates that will be used for its 911 Consolidation Center.
O’Fallon Police Chief Eric Van Hook said the money will be used to purchase:
▪ Electric upgrades. This includes the underfloor electrical rewiring and additional power required for six positions as well as all data cable.
“This does not include a 10 percent contingency for incidentals,” Van Hook said.
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▪ Console furniture for six stations inclusive of all monitor, keyboard extensions and monitor mounts;
▪ For removal, relocation and re-installation of 911 stations;
▪ NICE Voice Logger software and licensing;
▪ NICE Voice Logger server;
▪ 22-inch PC monitors for six work stations;
▪ Shoretel telephones with side buttons;
▪ Microwave connectivity from the Public Service Building to North Seven Hills Water Tower;
▪ Video camera/closed circuit television server/monitors installation;
▪ Replacement ceiling tiles;
▪ Redundant radio system connectivity
▪ Connectivity to the ETSB for recorder and ICJ;
▪ Microwave transmissions to Fairview Heights Police Department; and
▪ Additional headsets, telephone/radio connectivity for headsets.
Due to the mandatory public safety answering points or PSAPs consolidation in Illinois, St. Clair Couny is required to reduce the number of PSAPs from eight to four by July 1, 2017.
By July of this year, the counties’ 911 boards have to submit their plans for the reduction process to the state for review.
The state has already approved four of the locations of the PSAP’s to be O’Fallon/Fairview Heights, Belleville, East St. Louis and CENCOM.
“As we move forward with the consolidation, there is a need to purchase equipment, update dispatch communitaions centers and re-outfit with six councils verus the current four councils,” Van Hook said.
As part of the consolidation legislation, the state is building 911 systems in roughly 10 counties without 911 systems.
The state is pushing the consolidation as it takes over connectivity costs of 911 call centers, and works toward making sure the entire state has Next Generation 911 capabilities by 2020.
Next Generation 911 is an internet-based system that allows digital information such as voice, photos, videos and text messages to be sent to the 911 network and to emergency responders.
St. Clair County has already invested $2.4 million to implement Next Generation 911. In comparison, Madison County has invested $7 million.
When St. Clair and Madison counties started their 911 boards, the counties instituted a 65-cent monthly surcharge per phone line.
The new state law creates an 87-cent monthly surcharge per line on all purchases of wireline, wireless, interconnected Voice over IP (VoIP), and cable-provided telecommunications services.
Under St. Clair County’s plan, CENCOM, which is operated by the county, but located in Belleville, East St. Louis, O’Fallon and Belleville would keep their PSAPs.
Current PSAPs in Fairview Heights, Centreville, Cahokia and Swansea would be consolidated into the other call centers.
Fairview Heights and O’Fallon earlier split the cost of a $24,000 study on the feasibility of consolidating the two cities’ PSAPs into the O’Fallon facility.
The two communities opted to begin looking into consolidating because of their close proximity and similar call volumes.
O’Fallon also dispatches for Shiloh.
Van Hook said in February there is a level of control police chiefs would like to maintain that may not be there in a consolidated communications center.
“I have the ability to choose who I hire to do that job and ... (to) the community, the most important thing is the success of public safety,” Van Hook said. “By me having my own little kingdom it ensures I’m going to give them the people they need to handle those calls and dispatch them properly.”
Van Hook also said he wonders how the state came up with a 50 percent reduction.
“To me, that is a random and capricious number,” Van Hook said. “If someone could explain it to me, I might be more apt to get on board with it, but right now, my main concern is we don’t have any degradation of service to our community.”
Fairview Heights Police Chief Nick Gailius said each 911 center has its own computer system, video system and alarm boards that are monitored, among other things. Each city may even dispatch for a fire department as well.
“All those things have to be taken into consideration,” Gailius said. “It will be pretty expensive (and) I don’t expect money to come from the state. While consolidation is a noble effort, it needs to focus on where they have the biggest concerns,” Gailius told the News-Democrat earlier. “St. Clair and Madison County ought to be lowest on the totem pole,” he said.
Fairview Heights invested $150,000 into a remodel of its PSAP and dispatch center, according to Gailus. The city also needs to pay $200,000 for two new radio consoles from Motorola because the current ones are obsolete.
Joseph Bustos of the News- Democrat contributed to this story.