E911 Center progressing

Published 8:31 am Tuesday, May 13, 2014

WINTON – Hertford County’s Board of Commissioners received an update from County Manager Loria Williams on the status of the construction of the county’s E911 Communications Center.

The multi-million dollar project, which will be 100 percent grant funded, will consist of 10,124 gross square feet, to include room to allow for as many as four emergency services dispatchers to work at one time. The facility will also include office space for supervisors, break room/kitchen, restrooms, bunk room, lockers, showers, and storage areas.

The Center is expected to streamline the county’s processing of emergency calls and enable more efficient responses and will also expedite emergency response times by cutting down on call transfers and facilitating use of the same dispatch and mapping technology by all emergency responders.

The emergency operations center will serve as a virtually apocalypse-proof hub for emergency personnel to manage their efforts in the event of a disaster.

Becker-Morgan Group, Inc. of Wilmington is the architect for the project.  B-M-G recent constructed the E911 Center in Scotland County at Laurinburg.  They were set to meet with Hertford County officials earlier this month.

“The meeting was scheduled for May 7,” said County Manager Loria Williams. “The architect had requested that meeting be delayed and rescheduled to the 14th.  At that time we should be able to have the architect here to do a formal presentation to you all.”

That meeting would be at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Commissioners on May 19.

“We have met with the North Carolina 911 Board two weeks ago,” Williams continued. “So we have our marching orders as to how we draw down money.”

Williams expressed disappointment with the delays, but felt they were necessary.

“I’ve provided them with all of our Geo, technical surveys, the existing plans, the existing water and sewer plans for the infrastructure that’s out there,” Williams added.  “I’ve responded to some questions as to how the building needs to be situated based on where that infrastructure is so it’s just a matter of the architect doing what he needs do.”

Williams said the build-out date is still set for June 2016 as per the grant agreement.

“Everything must be finalized by that time,” she cautioned.

Williams was asked about the director’s position and whether he had begun his duties.

David Brown, the former Gates County Commissioner, and who was also a probation and parole officer in Gates and Hertford counties, will be the new E911 director.

“He is scheduled to be in a class the first week in June getting his certification and that’s our first aim, so he has that scheduled,” according to Williams.

Commissioner Curtis Freeman asked how the E911 Director would work pending all the county’s various emergency dispatch centers coming together.

Williams replied that until the county’s E911 Governance Board is officially reorganized, then the Director would be working on getting his certification and attending all the governance meetings.

“I’m thinking of recommending a cut-over date of July 1 of central communications reporting directly to the E911 director,” Williams said.

But she also indicated the final confirmation of the change-over would have to come from the commissioners.

“There’s nothing that we’ve come across in the statues that would prevent you all from doing that,” she answered.

Williams acknowledged that some counties in the state have their E911’s under their Planning and Zoning Department, and some have it under the Sheriff’s Department and still others have it as a stand-alone department which is what she is recommending based on the inter-local agreement.  She also said the director’s priority at this time is his certification.

“He’s got to have a certain number of hours under his belt to become certified, so bringing him on ahead of time has been fortuitous,” Williams said.  “We have divine intervention guiding us sometimes, but we didn’t even know that until we began looking into the certification.”

Brown must complete a certain number of hours of training to receive his certification beginning with a week-long class at the NC JusticeAcademy in Salemburg.

“He’s getting acclimated,” Williams stressed. “He’s having budget meetings, he went to a meeting with the state, he’s met with the Sheriff, the town of Murfreesboro, and I’m not sure if he’s gotten to Ahoskie just yet, but he’s meeting with folks, and that certification is key.”