Consideration of moving the county’s emergency 911 center operations from the fire department to the Sheriff’s Office brought out some concern from Rockdale Fire and Rescue.
RCFR currently oversees E-911 operations that provide emergency call service for deputies, fire, paramedics and other first responders. City of Conyers operates its own 911 center that oversees calls in the city to police, fire, paramedics and other first responders.
Post 2 Commissioner JaNice Van Ness, also board vice chairperson, suggested waiting to have the discussion when Chairman Richard Oden was present.
County spokesperson Tonya Parker said the chairman was in Washington, D.C. to visit congressional representatives and lobby on behalf of Rockdale County.
Morgan asked Tuesday for a presentation of the pros and cons of the proposal to see “if it is even feasible.”
“I certainly want to devote the necessary amount of time to this issue and see if it is a viable option or not,” Van Ness said.
Commissioner Oz Nesbitt seemed to agree with the nature of the early talks.
“Regardless of where this conversation goes, and at this time, that’s all it is. Just a conversation,” Nesbitt said. “No decision has been made. There’s just an idea on the table, at this time.”
Morgan asked for documents from whoever suggested so he may directly address the concerns that started the proposal. He said Tuesday that he only learned about the proposal 18 hours before the meeting.
Commissioner Van Ness requested the proposal to be on Tuesday’s agenda, according to county personnel.
“This has been a discussion that’s gone on several years ago,” Van Ness said during the meeting. “So this is not new.”
But Morgan said it was a surprise to him because it had not been discussed in the last 24 months until now.
Later in the meeting, commissioners heard from 911 sub-committee co-chairperson Bill Hughey with an update on the recent switch to a digital system for public safety personnel, including law enforcement, fire, and paramedics.
All of the testing is not done yet, but his team the new system is working better than expected, according to Hughey. Through test rides around the county, subcommittee members found that signal transmission is now strong in areas were communication was unclear. Those areas were Costley Mill, the county jail, and the basement of Rockdale Medical Center.
“We are pleased with it,” Hughey said. “We’ve had nothing but positive responses from all the users.”
Once the testing is done, the county will be able to accept the full system.
Hughey said he expected testing to be complete in the next 30 days.