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Pocahontas County Commission Considering Important Major Purchase

At its December 4th meeting, the Pocahontas County Commissioners talked with with 911 Director Mike O’Brien about possibly purchasing a new 911 Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD,), a 911 Phone System, a mapping application and a new Records Management system for the Sheriff’s Department.

O’Brien said this purchase has been considered for over a year because they learned that the company that had supplied and maintained the current CAD system, Call Works, had been sold to another company, Spielman CAD. Since then, that company was itself bought by Motorola.  O’Brien said that just a service agreement on their current CAD system costs $24,000 per year and does not include any upgrades to either the aging software or hardware. O’Brien also said that the current system does not meet the minimum national standards for 911 Centers as established by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA.)

O’Brien said he has been negotiating with Motorola for the purchase of new state-of-the-art systems from Motorola, which company is so big it is highly unlikely to be bought by another company, assuring stability for years. The systems they are considering will add new features such as integrated mapping that will display the location of each 911 call on a map and will add the ability to receive text messages sent to 911. O’Brien says that texting ability is especially important in this county because often people who need emergency help are located in an area without enough cell service to call 911, but with enough service to send a text to 911.

A new feature is a one button transfer of a 911 call to another county’s 911 center if the incident is located in other county. Now the dispatchers have to either telephone the other county’s 911 center and relay the information, or provide the caller with the phone number to the other county’s 911 Center. O’Brien says this occurs a lot, especially because the cell tower at Snowshoe picks up cell calls that originate in Randolph County, and all 911 calls passing through that cell tower come to the Pocahontas 911 Center.

The total cost for the CAD, Mapping, Phone and Records Management systems is $766,387.00 spread over 10 years, and it can be either bought or leased. Ten years of support, which includes software and hardware upgrades is provided at no extra cost.

The Commissioners supported this but first want their Counsel, Bob Martin, who was not at this meeting, to review the contract. They also want more time to consider whether to buy or lease, and how much down payment to put on it, so they took no action at this meeting, but will revisit those decisions at their next meeting.

The Commissioners approved Sheriff Jeff Barlow’s request to hire, Stephen Raduasskis as a new full-time Law Enforcement Deputy effective December 12th at $35,000 per year. The new Deputy had previously worked in Greenbrier County so is already trained and certified.

The Commission also approved the use of office and storage space in the Former Shoe Factory Building by the West Virginia Department of Forestry for another year.

At the request of the Region 4 Planning and Development Council, the Commissioners approved a Resolution adopting a Community Development and Housing Needs Assessment. This is required for the grant they had applied for in support of Broadband for the County.

After an executive session, The Commissioners approved SecuriTech LLC’s contract to install security systems at the former shoe Factory Building, then they approved invoices before adjourning.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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