E-911 is a work in progress

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 24, 2005

WINTON – Enhanced 911 is a work in progress in Hertford County.

The county is working towards getting a fully implemented E-911 system and that requires the work of several departments within the county government.

Currently there are three departments working directly to make the service available to the citizens of Hertford County.

The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Land Records Department and Addressing Office are each working to make E-911 a reality.

The Hertford County Commissioners designated nearly $300,000 for use in the E-911 upgrade for the current budget year. All of those funds are coming from the revenue generated from phone bills in Hertford County.

On each phone bill – land line and cellular – an E-911 charge is added to be paid to the regulatory 911 agency. In Hertford County those funds are directed to the county except for those who live in the town of Ahoskie or the town of Murfreesboro.

&uot;We receive the funds from those who live in the county and those who live in all the towns except Ahoskie and Murfreesboro,&uot; County Manager Don Craft said. &uot;They collect their own and have control over how those funds are spent. We control only what we collect.&uot;

The county projected to collect $114,467 from Sprint for telephones and $67,000 from cellular phones during the year. The county commissioners also budgeted the entire fund balance – just over $100,000 – from the fund to be used this year.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan receives $85,812 under the current budget to use for equipment relating to E-911.

He said those funds were used for equipment maintenance and repair.

&uot;Currently, we have two separate phones set up in our Communications Center,&uot; Vaughan said. &uot;They are called ANI and ALI and are a central part of our 911 communications.&uot;

ANI stands for Automated Number Identified while ALI is the Automated Location Identifier. They became part of the sheriff’s office in 2002 and allow a dispatcher to see the name and location of all telephone calls coming in to 911.

The Sheriff said he also had a Dictaphone that records all 911 calls and all radio traffic for the HCSO.

&uot;The funds we receive are just used to maintain the equipment we have,&uot; Vaughan said. &uot;That is all we use 911 monies for.&uot;

Also using funds for maintaining a current service is the Addressing Office of the county.

Rose Stephenson works to maintain E-911 addressing in Hertford County and to make certain the road signs in the county are erect and readable.

Funds allocated for the Addressing Office total $36,891 and are used for salary and benefits for Stephenson and for supplies and materials to repair and replace road signs in the county.

Craft said the county originally spent a portion of the 911 money to put road signs throughout the county and that the process was completed manually.

&uot;When we began the process of moving everything to computers, we found out the work we had done wouldn’t work on the computer so we had to start over,&uot; Craft said. &uot;We scrapped all the work that was done and started over.&uot;

Stephenson said that all residences in Hertford County are now addressed, but that she spent a significant amount of time working with out-of-area property owners to find addresses and on addressing new parcels when a residence or business was to be put on that land.

Because of the addressing system, the Communications Center at the HCSO has addressing for all residents of Hertford County that appear on their screen thanks to ANI and ALI.

&uot;When one of our ambulances goes out into the county looking for somebody, they can find them,&uot; Stephenson said.

While Vaughan and Stephenson are working to maintain their current work, Gay Sumner and her staff in the Land Records Department are working to make the necessary progress for E-911.

&uot;We are going from manual to digital right now,&uot; Sumner said. &uot; We have the images now, but we are working to do quality control on them.

&uot;We also have some parcel information, but again we are working on quality control before we can release any of the information,&uot; she added.

What Sumner’s department is working towards is having a photograph map that will show parcels and addresses within the county.

This will help with E-911 because it will allow those in the Communication Center to pull up an actual map of the area surrounding the 911 callers. They will then be able to communicate this information to the emergency personnel who are responding to the call.

&uot;Our goal – and it is a few years away – is to have a website from which you could access the information from out department,&uot; Sumner said.

She indicated there would also be a way for the public to come in to print maps they would need.

The total cost will be nearly $250,000 and the project will take until 2006 to complete.

This year’s budget will allow for $164,656 of the project to be completed. That will include the photographs already taken and some of the parcel information.

Previously, funds from the 911 monies have been used to purchase all new radio system for Hertford County Emergency Services. This allows for all emergency personnel to be able to communicate with each other.

EMS Manager Charles Jones said the only expense still picked up by the 911 funds is the rent on the town that allows the radios to be used throughout the county.

The completion date for E-911 will be determined as each of the current projects draw to a close.

&uot;We don’t have the funds to spend to just do this,&uot; Craft said. &uot;We have to used the funds designated for it and use them wisely as they come in.&uot;