In roughly two months, Franklin County’s long-delayed 911 and computer-aided dispatching system is expected to be up and running.
County officials have a formal time line in place, with an estimated completion date of July 9.
That date is not yet set in stone, said Vince Zagarri, the county’s interim 911 director, because it is contingent on “data entry being perfected on test stations prior to going live.”
The two-month time frame is a familiar one though, as officials were sharing a similar figure in April.
The time line at the time was expected to be completed in May, Zagarri said at the time.
Sheriff Gary Toelke said the formal agreement and timeline developed between the county and software vendor CenturyLink, referred to as a memorandum of understanding, “goes through progressive steps to get workstations online and get personnel trained.”
Toelke said once the county’s public safety answering point, or PSAP, is switched over and all the workstations are using the new software, it will be on par or better than the other PSAPs in the county.
Zagarri told members of the county’s Emergency Management Communications Board that work detailed in the time line began this week.
“Everyone is getting their assignments. It is a very formal project,” he said.
Zagarri said the project involves 911 and emergency management staff, dispatchers, county IT staff and technicians from CenturyLink, as well as the software companies that created the program, purchased several years ago for over $1 million dollars.
County IT staff will be responsible for maintaining the dispatching system’s databases, he said, while CenturyLink will be responsible for software upgrades under the existing maintenance contract.
“The big elephant in the room is getting this database right,” Zagarri said, “and making sure it’s right… for the fire districts and the ambulance districts — the end users.”
Don Jones, a captain with the sheriff’s department, said those involved in the project are having weekly meetings to keep everyone on task.
Chris Miller, ECMB member and New Haven Ambulance chief, said the meetings are an important part of the process because of mistakes made in the past.
“I’m concerned because there has been a lot of finger-pointing,” he said.
Miller said there has been an ongoing concern about the database with regards to mapping for areas that districts, based in the county, serve that are outside the county.
“I don’t want that to be overlooked,” he said.
Miller said all of the districts have mutual aid agreements, some of which stretch outside the county.
Zagarri said incorporating the data from surrounding counties is included in the project.
“This can’t go live until everyone is trained and every agency is taken care of,” he said.
It has been more than two years since the county entered into a contract with CenturyLink for the new software.
County commissioners publicly praised the company in March after Zagarri made comments critical of CenturyLink and software manufacturers Tiburon and Intrado.
Commissioners said the company has been working “side-by-side with county employees in a diligent manner to help us resolve all challenges and issues.”
Zagarri Thursday said the upgrades were 95 percent complete, but were missing a vital piece — the CAD system.