The sharp eye of a local resident helped catch the expiration of one of the county's 911 center Federal Communications Commission licenses in time.
Resident Steve Macke pointed out at the Tuesday, June 5, Board of Commissioners work session that the FCC license for one of its frequencies, under the call letters WPKP801, had expired June 3.
E-911 interim Operations Manager Bill Cate was not allowed to speak to the media but county spokesperson Tonya Parker explained that "there was never a situation of people calling and not being able to get through 911."
The licenses are renewed every 10 years and the FCC usually grants a 30-day grace period because it is not unusual for municipalities to miss the renewal deadline, she said.
The county applied for a renewal online on Wednesday and will receive a paper copy of its renewed license within five days.
"Because of this resident's alert, we were able to go in, address this issue within 24 hours," said Parker.
The county was sent a reminder notice in March but it had been addressed to former Operations Director Carolyn Hunter and may have gotten lost in shuffle, said Parker. "One of the things that will happen moving forward, we'll be doing a yearly audit of all our FCC licenses," she said.
Cate said later by email through Parker that if the license had expired, "We would not have had any interruption of our ability to communicate with our first responders. We have a five channel bank of national mutual aid frequencies that are available for our use at any time in the event of an emergency."
The county's E-911 center is under Rockdale Fire and Rescue Department, headed by Fire Chief Franklin Wilson. The E-911 center provides dispatching and emergency communication for the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office, Rockdale Fire and Rescue, and other first responders. E-911's former operations manager Julie Seng resigned May 4 and Cate, who was the manager of the 800MHz radio system, was named interim operations manager. The county is currently not advertising for the operations manager position.
The city of Conyers and Conyers Police Department operate a separate 911 center.