E-911 Board honors communications operators

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2001

During the E-911 Board meeting held Tuesday morning, the week was proclaimed to honor the service rendered by communications operators.

"In honor of the men and women whose diligence and professionalism keep our City and its citizens safe, The City of Greenville declares Apr. 8 through Apr. 14 as National Public Safety Communications Week," said Mayor Dexter McLendon. "I just can't say enough about how good we have it because of the work they perform."

In other business, The board discussed the need for better equipment to communicate with the county's fire departments.

Rural fire officials were in attendance to voice concerns about the communications problems in the area.

"I have spoken with the Forestry Commission about the low-lying and distant areas of the county, regarding communications problems," said Janice Stamps, E-911 Director. "They are adding height to all existing radio towers, in an effort to improve the radio coverage."

Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips spoke also about the communications problems.

"The outlying areas, such as Forest Home, Spring Creek and Pigeon Creek are in need of better communications," Phillips said. "Forestry is developing plans for a radio tower to be installed on Manningham Road, to alleviate the problem."

Phillips said the only problem at the present time is funding.

Mayor McLendon volunteered to see to securing funds needed.

"I'll take it as a project to get the funds for fire radio improvement," McLendon said. "Perhaps Sen. Wendell Mitchell will be able to help us."

Wesley Henderson, of Searcy Fire Department, asked about street signs.

"We have found several areas where signs that have been placed are not correct,' Henderson said. "They need to be corrected-it causes confusion."

Stamps said if a road is found to be marked incorrectly, either in the map books or on street signs, she would have them corrected.

"If someone would let us know about the inconsistencies, we can have it taken care of," she said.

Chris Hilliard, president of the Butler County Firefighters Association asked about extra copies of the map books for additional vehicles on the departments of the county.

"We have no problem with getting them (extra books) so the fire departments will have adequate quantities," Stamps said. "If the corrections can be submitted before we order more maps, we can have them corrected prior to printing."

Stamps reported problems occurring with the system software since Verizon took over from GTE.

"Following the contract with Bloodhound Solutions (unified software to link law enforcement, judicial and communications agencies), we met with Verizon," Stamps said. "Their new equipment is not DOS-based', but Sentinel is changing software to become Windows-based'-the upgrade will probably cost upwards of $50,000," she said.

Stamps said the problem right shows up with backup protocols.

"Our backup system in Dothan is not compatible with our system here in Butler County," Stamps said. "Sentinel's new system will also interface with Bloodhound Solutions."

Stamps also reported on the Butler County System being selected by the state association for new system implementation.

"The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials, has chosen the Butler County Communications District over all other centers in Alabama for implementation of Phase-I and Phase-II wireless systems," Stamps said, "We should all be proud of this, as it is a distinctive improvement for the service we can offer."

After the meeting was adjourned, Mayor McLendon presented the proclamation to the communications operators.