911 Board Tables Communications Committee Recommendations One Month

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Published on June 12 2012 8:01 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham County 911 Board Tuesday voted to table for one month two recommendations from its own Communications Committee.

One recommendation is to set the sunset date of discontinuing use of the 800 megahertz analog radios as May 2014.  The other recommendation is to begin preparation of requests for proposals on the replacement of the communications consoles at both 911 dispatching points, one located at the city police station, the other at the county sheriff's office.

Chief Deputy Sheriff John Loy recommended tabling the recommendations, wanting to wait to see whether a bridge designed to enhance communication between the various agencies works.  Loy said the bridge should arrive next week.  He said a temporary patch that has been employed hasn't really worked.

Effingham Police Chief Mike Schutzbach said he still has mixed feelings on sunsetting 800 megahertz communication since it still provides contact between all of the various emergency services agencies in the county, but there are concerns that replacement parts will become difficult to obtain.  Schutzbach wondered whether there will be a market for the system once Effingham County ends its use?

911 board member Ken Schwerman, in his final meeting on the Board, voted Present on the motion to table the recommendations.  Schwerman did not seek reappointment.  The County Board's Legislative Committee Monday voted to propose Norbert Soltwedel to succeed Schwerman on the Board.

Meanwhile, the 911 Board approved the purchase of two radios, one for each dispatching point, that could be used to contact agencies in the event the communications consoles went down.  The two radios combined cost just under $10,000.

The Board also heard from Communications Manager Jodi Moomaw that the upcoming consolidation of Illinois State Police communications services will lead to State Police dispatching for this area from DuQuoin.  Moomaw said State Police will maintain the current phone numbers until new phone books come out, but said they'll then have 618 numbers, meaning long-distance phone costs for the local 911 while calls are still active.