Officials say upgrade crucial for emergency responders

For emergency personnel, time is crucial and accurate information is a must.

The Havelock Board of Commissioners took steps Monday night to ensure city police, fire and rescue personnel have those two important pieces when responding to calls.

The board voted unanimously to spend up to $129,184 to upgrade the city’s Computer Aided Dispatch software platform during its meeting Monday night.

The city’s current system is older and will soon lose computer software support from the vendor, meaning the latest GIS software that provides street and address information of 9-1-1 callers would no longer be available.

“As time moves forward, we’re going to be more and more out of date,” Chad Ives, the city’s IT director told the board. “It’s a total rewrite. It’s a heavy lift. … We’re giving this a total rework.”

Of the amount of money, $83,369 will come from the city’s reserve fund, while $45,815 will come from the 9-1-1 fund.

Mayor Will Lewis said that state regulations prevented the city from using more 9-1-1 money for the project.

“We’d love to do all of this using 9-1-1 funds, but it’s very regulated,” he said. “We’re paying for all that we can out of the 9-1-1 fund.”

The system can identify the location of a 9-1-1 call, map a route and provide any call history, while rapidly reporting such information to first responders. The new system would also create incident reports.

“It’s a lot of money but it creates a lot of efficiencies for how we respond,” Lewis said.

Commissioners unanimously supported the proposal.

“Those who have to make that phone call love this,” Commissioner Danny Walsh said. “It’s a world of difference from the old days.”

In other business Monday night, the board:

-- Unanimously approved a preliminary plat for a commercial lot subdivision west of the city limits but in the city’s new extraterritorial jurisdiction. The plan basically splits a 3.995-acre parcel owned by Sammy and Sharon Ebron just east of the Carolina Pines subdivision.

-- Unanimously voted to cancel the Feb. 27 board meeting because of scheduling conflicts with the mayor and City Manager Frank Bottorff and instead meet on Feb. 13 in a regular meeting rather than work session.