Funds sought for 911 upgrade

By Staff
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
Communications technology has passed Hartselle Police Department by and it needs $260,000 to catch up.
Chief Ron Puckett put top priority on that need at Monday's City Council work session when he asked for permission to carry forward a $73,000 capital outlay appropriation from fiscal 2007 to fiscal 2008.
"We had intended to use this money to purchase new patrol cars," he said, "but we need new equipment for our dispatch center worse."
Puckett informed the governing body that a bolt of lightning struck the dispatch center on July 9 and knocked out a lot of the equipment that's used to receive and process 911 emergency calls.
"This is 1989 model equipment" he reported. "We have checked out having it repaired but replacement parts are no longer being made. Even if we could get it fixed, the best we could hope for would be 18-year-old equipment that is in working order. We need up-to-date equipment to provide adequate services to our citizens."
"A lot of our emergency calls come in on cell phones," he noted, "and as things stand now we don't have the ability to locate the caller if he or she should drop the phone or we should lose contact with them."
Puckett said some insurance money will be available to apply toward new dispatch equipment and additional capital funding will be requested in 2007-08. He also pointed out that Terry Acuff, the city's grant consultant, is checking into the possibility of getting help from a Homeland Security grant program. "I've learned that the state is getting $13 million and grant applications will be accepted in September. We'll be asking for about $260,000," Puckett said.
The council indicated it would honor Puckett's request to carry over the $73,0000. Mayor Dwight Tankersley said he has already included that amount as a carry over item on his capital outlay appropriations list for 2007-08.

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