The Board of Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to pay Motorola $2 million to upgrade the county’s 911 phone system.
Ann Flynn, director of the county’s emergency communications department, said the existing system is more than seven years old.
“If you know anything about computers, at five years it was end-of-life,” Flynn said.
The lowest bid to replace the system, at more than $3 million, proved cost prohibitive so the county opted to upgrade the existing system.
“This takes administrative calls, it takes in the 911 calls, the 911 calls coming in on a dedicated line from AT&T, it provides (latitude and longitude), and then that downloads onto maps, so it is the heartbeat of the 911 center,” Flynn said.
By telling authorities where the caller is calling from, lives are saved.
“That’s really where I feel the life saving has come in many times every year because when somebody has called us, we’ve had several calls where they can’t speak,” she said. “It’s a domestic situation, a medical situation, lost children, elderly, and when they don’t know where they are, we can narrow down using current technology within 300 meters the location of the call.”
Within the next year or so the upgraded system will allow callers to text their 911 emergency calls as well.
“Let’s say I’m a child in a domestic (situation) and I’ve run under the bed,” Flynn said. “Somebody is chasing me, but I don’t want them to know I’m under the bed, and I need help. I can text.”
The existing system is under a $214,000-a-year maintenance contract. The new system will have an annual cost of $80,000 for software licensing which kicks in fiscal 2015.
Flynn expects the upgraded system will last the county five years before it too will need to be replaced.
The Board of Commissioners also approved the following items Tuesday:
- A $632,730 contract with Waterworks Atlanta Inc. to renovate the pool area at Sewell Park on Lower Roswell Road;
- A $433,485 expense to hire five new positions for the county’s information services department;
- Four new Ford F450 heavy duty trucks, at a cost of $501,168, for the Cobb Fire Department;
- Swapped out two part-time assistant positions at the county’s government services centers for two full-time ones, for a change in cost of $16,431 per part-time position to $53,776 per full-time one. Residents can pay water bills, make tax payments and apply for business licenses at the government services centers.
- Appointed Angie Davis, chief deputy clerk of state court, to the Cobb Audit Committee to replace State Court Clerk Diane Webb, who is retiring Friday;
- Appointed Ron Fernandez to the Community Relations Council, nominated by Commissioner Bob Ott;
- Appointed Karen Hallacy of east Cobb, nominated by Ott, to the Development Authority of Cobb County;
- Appointed Jill Flamm, nominated by Ott, to the Recreation Board;
- And county chairman Tim Lee appointed Superior Plumbing owner Jay Cunningham to the SPLOST Oversight Committee.