At Bulloch County’s second Tuesday Commission meeting, Commissioners heard an update on the needs of public safety personnel.
Currently, Bulloch County operates on a robust network of radio networking used by municipalities and adjoining counties, including Evans and Candler. The system has been in place since 1999 and has been paid for using SPLOST dollars. In 2009, a $1.2 million grant was received to begin transitioning to a more up-to-date P-25 system on the Southeast Georgia Regional Radio Network. As technology continues to evolve, dollars need to be allocated to provide for the necessary upgrades that must be put into place by 2017 because the current equipment will no longer be compatible with the SGRRN.
There are three options for the county:
- Continue the $3 million full-migration P-25 purchase to sustain the needs of the county over the next 15-20 years.
- Remain on the 800 mghz/P-15 system, which is analog, with upgrades at a cost of $2.7 million
- Start fresh, restart the bid process, get rid of the current system (a $1.2 million loss) and be prepared to pay upwards of $7 million
Though the county needs to plan to allocate additional money to the needs, attention must be paid to surrounding counties and cities like Brooklet and Portal who use the system but are not paying for their share of the usage. County Manager Couch suggested more oversight and stricter enforcement on collection to ensure Bulloch County is not left on the hook, but is currently unsure how to effectively do that.
Additionally, the 911 system needs the capability to receive voice, video, text, and photos into the 911 system. Any technology the public is using, the 911 dispatchers and operators need to be able to download and view, if necessary, through the system.
The system in place is in need of immediate replacement, as it has gone down before on more than one occasion. That price tag is $195,000. Unfortunately, the console equipment and recording system will not be compatible with a new system and require $570,000 and $112,000, respectively.
Public safety personnel have huge needs with time restrictions, but priority number one appears to be the need to ensure stakeholders around the county and in adjacent counties are paying their fair share.
Photo by Kecko