911 board votes to go with new $90K system

LINCOLN — The Alcona County 911 board recently voted to purchase a new dispatch center system that will cost $90,000, according to 911 Director Jeffrey Brackett.

Brackett said the system will be installed at the Alcona County Sheriff Department beginning in February and there should be little impact on the public.

Part of the need for the new system is because Frontier will be ending its support of the current 911 system, which is used by Alcona County and many other dispatch centers across the state, Brackett said.

“Frontier is currently our provider for our 911 phone services, and basically the old system is unsupported after Dec. 31. That means if there is a breakdown they are not going to have the pieces and parts to come in and fix them,” he said.

That system still uses the antiquated Microsoft Windows XP operating system, Brackett said. He said although the system is old it has been reliable and should not have issues while the new system is being installed at the facility.

Brackett said the board has been trying to decide on the right system to get it implemented in time.

The new system is made by Viper and is called the V-Viper system.

“Basically it’s a smaller version of the same system that Alpena County put in, but they put in the Viper system,” Brackett said. “V-Viper is a little bit smaller system. It’s a little bit more affordable, it’s designed for smaller dispatch centers.”

He said for example where Alpena’s system allows up to four dispatchers to be available to answer emergency calls, Alcona’s system will only allow two dispatchers.

Brackett said the board has been under a crunch to select and get the new system installed and weighed several options, including “piggybacking” on an existing system in a different community.

“We looked at remoting off the Viper system in Alpena and Roscommon. We could have remoted off them, but we want to stay independent and it’s a scaled down version, and it’s perfect for our dispatch,” he said.

For the new system the county is working with Peninsula Fiber Network to provide phone services for the new system. Brackett said the system will cost an estimated $90,000 with a large share of it hopefully being covered by a grant.

“We are waiting to hear on a Homeland Security grant that has already been approved by the state,” he said. “That grant is for $74,000 and the rest will come out of the 911 budget.”

Brackett said it will be good to get a new system, and he hoped there would not be any issues with the installation.

“It’s one of those things that you’re excited and you’re not, there could always be some glitches but these companies have been changing over a lot of (dispatch centers) in northern Michigan and should do a good job,” he said.

Jason Ogden can be reached via email at jogden@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Jason on Twitter @jo_alpenanews.