E-911 Board appoints new officers
The Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board appointed new officers at its regularly scheduled quarterly meeting on Dec. 18.
New board member Leslie Smith was appointed to the position of secretary, which was previously held by Richard Asbill.
Current board member David Dalton was appointed to the position of treasurer, previously held by Harold Schelin, and Leonard Witt, a founding member of the board, was appointed to the position of vice chairman, which was previously held by Schelin.
Asbill, Schelin and Mike Redshaw retired from the board after deciding not to seek re-election.
The board voted to replace Asbill and Schelin on the bank signature cards with Dalton and Smith. Jon Horner, board chairman, is also an authorized signer.
Board members also reviewed the director's report submitted by Mike Philips, Barry County E-911 director.
Phillips reported that he appointed for a grant through the Walmart Foundation earlier in the year. Barry County E-911 was awarded $1,000, which will be used to purchase two televisions that will be used for training, weather, a news source and future improvements.
"We're in the process of switching over to wide screen computer monitors," said Phillips. "When an old standard monitor burns out, we are switching over to the widescreen. They are cheaper than the old monitors by $15 to $20 and easier to find than the old ones."
The change required Phillips to order and extender for the monitor tree. The new piece of equipment will accommodate future monitors and growth.
"We have made our first 2012 building payment using the remainder of the Wells Fargo loan and money collected," said Phillips. "We were able to make the building payment because of the additional revenue that we had received. We no longer have the Wells Fargo loan and will be making future payments out of sales tax money collected."
The building payment is a budgeted expense.
"This is one of the big reasons we held the election in February," said Horner. "As we approached the deadline to begin making the payments, we knew we would not be able to meet those obligations.
"We are beginning to see the positive effects of the election, and now we will be able to meet these obligations," added Horner.
The positive effects of the sales tax increase have also allowed Barry County E-911 to reinstate all positions cut due to decreases in revenue last year. The center is now fully staffed, said Phillips.
"We have been able to replace broken equipment, stay current on all maintenance agreements and put money in savings for future upgrades and technology," said Phillips.
Barry County E-911 has revised its training program to include hands-on and classroom training that totals a minimum of 340 hours. Employees are probationary for six months and continue to receive on-going training during that period.
"We have also changed the minimum requirement from 75 percent to 80 percent passing rating on the test and have added more listening skills to the test," said Phillips. "They are obligated to type a minimum of 35 words per minute and must successfully pass oral interviews and complete four hours worth of observation in the 911 center before they are offered employment."
Barry County E-911 staff members developed an official logo design for the local 911 service. The logo will be added to all uniforms.
"We will implement the uniform policy right after the first part of the year," said Phillips. "We will have an official polo with six different color options as our uniform. They will be worn here while working and at all training and events.
"I am looking forward to presenting ourselves in a professional capacity moving forward at any event we may be attending," added Phillips.
The E-911 operations center has received its control station for the new state-wide narrow banding system. The remainder of the equipment needed was scheduled to be installed last week.
"I am going to have Eventide out here after the first of the year to configure the recording software for the new channels," said Phillips. "This system was at no cost to the 911 center due to us being included in the grant paperwork that the sheriff's department and the Cassville Police Department were awarded. Once we start working on it we will create policies on how everyone will be dispatched."
Barry County E-911 has updated the Cassville city map. Philips is working with city officials to define standards for addressing in the city limits.
"They are currently revising their policies and have asked for my assistance," said Phillips. "I am hoping that we will be able to create a clear set of guidelines that will help aid Cassville with providing information to the 911 center."
Phillips reported that Barry County E-911 provided crisis management counseling services for staff members who worked the Blue Ridge Apartment fire in Wheaton.
"Those emergency telecommunicators did an outstanding job with dispatching the appropriate responders while answering multiple emergency and non-emergency calls," said Phillips. "They handled the incident like true professionals, and I was very pleased with them.
"Since it was truly a horrific incident, I felt we needed to offer some type of counseling to them," continued Phillips. "The employees participated and thanked me afterwards."
Barry County E-911 will send a card to the dispatchers who worked the school shooting incident in Newtown, Conn.
"This is a major event, and we wanted them to know that people who do the same thing as they do are thinking of them," said Phillips.
Barry County E-911 dispatched 9,111 calls in September, 9,210 calls in October and 8,881 calls in November.