Mahoning commissioners price 911 upgrades


By JUSTIN DENNIS

jdennis@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Mahoning County commissioners are reviewing about $770,000 worth of upgrades to the county’s 911 system which officials said would bring county law enforcement “into the 21st century.”

Commissioners met Thursday with Sheriff Jerry Greene and other county law enforcement and emergency response officials on upgrade proposals to the computer-aided dispatch system, including 911 call recording and a new records management system that allows dispatchers and police officers from different county departments to share information on suspects and incidents in real-time.

“For the first time in Mahoning County, the majority of law-enforcement organizations are going to be able to communicate and share information,” said Maj. William Cappabianca of the sheriff’s office. “It’s a big investment but ... 20 years from now, we’ll still be using the same system.”

The equipment and software upgrades to the county’s eight public safety answering points – priced through Motorola – are estimated to cost $770,000 from the county’s 911 fund, which includes revenue generated through 911 service fees levied on cellphone bills, said commissioners’ executive director Audrey Tillis. Annual maintenance costs are expected to be about $50,000 a year. The deal has not been finalized, however.

Because the upgrades will be purchased with 911 countywide fund, which is not part of the county’s general fund, officials were not required to request bids for the equipment and software, Tillis said.

Commissioners approved a 911 budget increase of $500,000 during a Thursday meeting.

Police departments that are each pitching in for the records management system are: Youngstown, the sheriff’s office, Austintown, Boardman, Poland, Beaver, Jackson and Milton townships and Mill Creek MetroParks.

Austintown trustees recently approved a purchase for the system that cost about $100,000, police Chief Robert Gavalier said.

“We are in the position to become all one dispatch, one day down the road,” Greene said.

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