ELKO – With a money boost from Elko County’s increase in phone surcharges from 25 cents to $1 earlier this year, the county will be upgrading the computer-aided dispatch system that is part of its 911 modernization effort.
County Commissioners agreed with the Enhanced 911 Board’s recommendation that it go through the state for the dispatch update, which will cost close to $148,083. Annual maintenance will cost an additional $16,235.
Police Chief Ty Trouten said the county has installed a Next Generation 911 system but needs to upgrade the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system, which is “now beyond end of life,” with the system patch expiring on Dec. 31, 2022.
He said the upgrade should be completed well before December 2022.
Currently, dispatch users cannot interface with each other, so they must go through central dispatch. Trouten said the new system would allow the police departments, sheriff’s department, and other emergency services to interact.
The approved proposal is for Motorola Solutions Inc. to provide the CAD upgrade through a shared agency agreement under the state contract with Motorola Solutions. Trouten said Elko Police Department will be most affected by the change because it uses a different vendor now.
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“It will be a learning curve, but the interoperability will be huge,” he said, citing as an example that if there is a shooting, agencies can learn about it in real time and be ready to assist.
The upgrade also includes CAD-to-CAD ability, which means if the Central Dispatch Center at Elko went down, the West Wendover 911 system could take over “so we don’t lose operations. That’s critical,” the chief told commissioners on Oct. 6.
The arrangement through the state makes the CAD-to-CAD process easier.
“As there are multiple dispatch centers in this state that utilize Motorola Solutions Spillman Flex, that process can more easily occur and requires agreements between the agencies, thus alleviating the need for the software and hardware,” Trouten explained in an email.
The Winborne consulting firm that worked with the county on NextGen 911 had projected the CAD upgrade to cost more, but the state option reduces the costs. The Enhanced 911 Board recommended the state avenue rather than a straight upgrade through the current vendor and no interfacing or going out for bid at the county level.
“I think you’ve found an excellent solution here in light of the patch that is going to expire,” said Commissioner Delmo Andreozzi.
According to the cost sheet from Motorola to the Elko Central Dispatch Authority, the $148,083 cost is after taking out a shared agency discount of $89,153 and a company discount of $23,257. Estimates for upgrading CAD had been in the range of $210,000 to $262,500 and for CAD-to-CAD, $157,500 to $210,000.
The $1 surcharge is estimated to bring in roughly $465,000 a year to the county, although the county agreed earlier this year that if 911 costs don’t require that amount in the future, the surcharge could be reduced.