Friday, July 13, 2012

Emergency radios to get upgrade

County emergency communications fully funded

Express Staff Writer

Blaine County Emergency Communications may get everything they requested for the next fiscal year, including new servers and software for radios and dispatch systems.

E-911 Communications Director Robin Stellers asked for funding for new servers to replace old, outdated equipment bought in 2007. The servers, known as computer-aided dispatch servers, are responsible for crucial information that dispatchers need to respond to emergency calls.

"It's basically what tells the dispatchers who to send and how many to send," Stellers said in an interview last month. "The servers, obviously, hold all of that information."

The servers have a shelf life of roughly five to seven years, and Stellers said some have been showing signs of impending failure.

The cost of the servers, $11,000, will come out of E-911 fees, which is a levy of $1 placed on all phone lines. The cost of another server, $12,000, will come out of a trust fund that all police and emergency response districts contribute to.

Emergency Communications will also get $68,799 for a radio software upgrade.

Sheriff Gene Ramsey said the county switched to 700 MHz radios in 2009, expanding radio coverage and allowing county officers to communicate with other agents across the state and even the nation.

"It gives us interoperability statewide," he said.

Using Custer County's upcoming Days of the Old West event as an example, Ramsey said, "If they ask for other fire departments or other police agencies, we can send someone. My officers could go with their radios and communicate with [Custer County's] command post. It's like a cell phone—wherever you go, it works—so long as they have a compatible system."

Ramsay said the software upgrade, like any software, is necessary to keep the system running smoothly.

"We've had the system for three years and done no upgrades," he said. "That leaves us vulnerable to viruses."

Though this is a line item in the budget for fiscal 2013, Ramsey and Stellers said they were looking for a long-term solution for ongoing maintenance and funding. Ramsey said the county got the system—estimated at $1.5 million in value—through grants, but maintenance is costly.

"Now it's the issue of keeping it going," he said. "We're trying to find a sustainable funding source."

County budget hearings continue on Monday, July 16, at 9 a.m. at the Blaine County Courthouse in Hailey.

Kate Wutz:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.