County picks vendors for 911 center systems; tech costs top $700K

by Kate Shunney

Morgan County Commissioners on Friday selected two companies to provide three main technology

Commissioner Sean Forney, front, cuts open a sealed bid for 911 center systems on Wednesday, November 6. Assistant 911 director Sarah Hogbin and 911 director Ronald Mason handle other bid packages.

components for an upgraded Morgan County 911 Center.

Officials say the center will be built in the former Sheriff’s Office space in the rear annex of the county courthouse. The current center is located near the old hospital and struggles with outdated equipment.

The county sought bids last month for three main components of the new 911 center. Bids were opened on Wednesday, November 6 during a regular County Commission meeting.

Ten firms bid on the three components sought by the county.

A committee of first responders, 911 administrators and county officials evaluated and scored the bids on Thursday, November 7. The committee made their recommendations on top bidders to the County Commission.

Vendors were chosen on Friday, November 8 during two meetings. The county’s request for proposals (RFP) specified the bids would be awarded that day.

Commissioners selected CRS Recording Solutions, LLC of Wheeling as vendor for a Communications Logging Recorder at a price of $106,653. The device records all emergency response radio traffic and stores it for documentation and future review.

Motorola Solutions was chosen as vendor for a system that includes computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management system (RMS) and mobile data terminal (MDT) interface for first responders. Motorola will provide and install those systems at cost of $298,738.

Motorola was also chosen as vendor for the county 911 center’s call taking system at a cost of either $313,073 for purchase or $222,055 under a hosted service arrangement. The call taking system directs 911 calls to multiple lines, lets the 911 center transfer calls in the event of a local line failure and integrates with the CAD system to collect caller information during an emergency call.

If the county purchases the call-taking system from Motorola, the total cost for three components for the 911 center will be $718,464.

Administrator Stefanie Allemong said the county will seek bids for additional items needed to make the new 911 center functional, including dispatch consoles, a software system, data conversion services and computer servers for data storage.

Motorola officials said it will take 12 to 18 months to make the county’s new CAD system fully functional.

County officials had said earlier they expected to have the 911 center equipped by next spring or summer.

Console & radios, too

After the bids were chosen, Motorola representatives also presented county officials with estimates of what a dispatcher console would cost the county, and what replacement field radios would cost if purchased through their company.

A five-position dispatcher console with hardware, software and installation could cost the county $532,552 from Motorola, with added costs for multiple years of service and tech support.

The company said 157 new portable radios, 74 mobile radio units and two control stations would cost the county $1,139,492, not including programming and an antenna network.

If the county combined the console and radio purchase with the CAD and call-taking systems, Motorola representatives said they could create a lease agreement stretched out over 10 years

County officials made no decisions about the radio or console portions of their proposals.