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Benton Evening News - Benton, IL
  • 911 board OKs motion to redirect emergency calls

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  • Franklin County Joint Emergency Telephone System Board members approved a motion to proceed with plans to direct all 911 calls from the west side of the county to the sheriff’s office beginning on Dec. 3. During the Nov. 20 meeting, director Rick Basso said little progress has been made in negotiations with mayors in that part of the county. He said the village of Royalton approved an intergovernmental agreement with the sheriff’s office to provide dispatch services for police matters earlier in the month. Basso said Central Dispatch would continue to field fire and non-emergency calls to the appropriate agency as part of the agreement. He believes Sesser is opting to have calls routed to the sheriff’s office, adding he had talked with Christopher mayor Gary Bartolotti and Zeigler mayor Dennis Mitchell in October. “When I talked with Mayor Bartolotti on Oct. 2, he said the preferences of Christopher and Zeigler are also to go with the sheriff’s office,” Basso said. “Mayor Bartolotti expressed a desire to remain operational for nine months and that period ends on June 30, 2013.” Basso said he would contact the mayors about the board’s decision adding Central Dispatch would continue as a secondary Public-safety Answering Point, or PSAP. In other matters, the director reported that narrowband conversion activities with fire departments on the west side of the county have uncovered a few problems. “It’s a good thing we started this project in October,” Basso said. “The fire siren tone is very low on the spectrum and may be too low to be picked up on narrowband. “We have experienced problems with Sesser, Christopher and Royalton fire sirens,” he said. “Flip Minton and Ryan Buckingham are working on this to make sure all department can comply with the Federal Communication Commission requirements.” Providing an update on the radio gap project, Basso said the down payment had been made and work was slated to begin in the West Frankfort Police Department and sheriff’s office to provide additional equipment. Board members approved an expenditure not to exceed $5,000 in October. Basso said the down payment was made to C & K Communications and asked for permission to pay the remainder when the project is completed. He said the project would be completed prior to the Dec. 18 meeting.
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