Franklin County’s 911 director recently reported that he has completed his two major goals for 2012.
Now, 911 Director Vince Zagarri said he has a great vision for the county’s 911 network in the coming year.
One major goal for 2012 was getting the latest computer-aided dispatch system operational, Zagarri said.
The other goal was to narrow-band the VHF network for less than $50,000. Zagarri said this was nationally recognized by a Federal Communications Commission executive. Neighboring counties to the north and east are needlessly spending tens of millions of dollars to build digital radio networks that aren’t needed for standard 911 communications, Zagarri said.
During a recent Franklin County Commission meeting, he reported on what has been accomplished in the past couple of years and what is planned in 2013.
Zagarri, whom the county contracts with for services, said much press has been given to financial issues related to his work but not what has actually been done.
“While costs might make the headlines, the benefits to the people of Franklin County are simply not given enough attention,” Zagarri said.
For instance, he said, when he first arrived none of the tower leases had been formalized. But since then he said he has worked with County Counselor Mark Vincent to develop a lease template for cost-effective tower leases.
Maintenance contracts with radio and computer vendors have been formalized, he said. Zagarri added that the vendors provide high-quality services at competitive prices.
Also, he said potential problems with the radio network that serves 17 agencies in Franklin County have been identified.
A primary radio transmitter in Krakow was moved from one tower to a new structure. This was done without a major outage in the middle of winter, he said. This received no media attention, he said, adding that press coverage only occurs when the network goes down.
In 2013, generators will be added to remote radio towers that don’t have enough backup power, he said.
Also, in 2013 a $75,000 microwave network will be installed, and it will reduce circuit costs at remote radio tower sites by $15,000 a month, Zagarri said.
He noted that the reason he was brought on in the first place
was to address a sporadic outage with the 911 network. At that time, the county’s telecommunication vendors were blaming each other, he said. Zagarri said he brought in management teams from both companies and developed a troubleshooting plan to fix problems.
Before that, 70 percent of the county’s 911 traffic was diverted to adjacent counties because of outages, he said.
Zagarri said he also cleaned up a shoddy installation that occurred during a major network project in the county’s primary communication center.
Other accomplishments, he said, have included reviewing billing records to find more than $10,000 in telecommunication cost savings and working with telephone companies to allow 911 dispatchers to see where cellphone calls are placed within 50 meters. This will expedite public safety services, he said.