Fenton will be keeping it's own dispatch system and could eventually be one of the first in the state to have the newest 911 technology.
The city council unanimously passed the resolution Monday to approve the dispatch system.
The system cost (a bid not to exceed $253,127.05) came in under the $300,000 estimate and Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro proposed using the $40,000 remaining ifor bringing NG911 i3 — the next generation of 911 — to Fenton.
The next generation of 911 will allow people to contact 911 via cell phone text messaging, photographs, video and streaming video. The ability to text 911 could arrive around September 2012, depending on when the state implemements it.
"I think we are getting the most bang for our buck," Aro said. "We could be one of the first in the state to implement the new technology within the next two years."
Fenton operates its 911 center with $150,000 in annual fees it receives, collected by cell phone companies from phone users. There are two full-time dispatchers, and the rest are part-time, Aro said. Dispatchers perform police administrative work when they aren’t dispatching, so if Fenton eliminated their positions, this work would still need to be done, according to Aro. Having police do the administrative work would result in the city paying a much higher salary for it, he said.
The dispatchers also observe the holding cell on the Fenton Police Department, which allows police to hold shoplifters overnight. Being able to lock people up reduces shoplifting in the city, Aro said, because shoplifters don’t return once they find out they will be locked up. He added that emergency medical responses in the city are one of the best in the county.
Former Councilman Timothy Faricy wrote a Nov. 7 letter saying Fenton should consider joining the Genesee County 911 center instead of making a large investment in a new system. He cited changing technology, staffing concerns and 911 cell phone calls that go into the Genesee County 911 system before being transferred to Fenton’s dispatch center.
The council decided, however, that Fenton will keep its own system.
The $260,427 in bids are from:
- Moducom (911 system, $57,565 and radio system, $96,450),
- Blumerich (logging recorder, $15,743 and net clock, $9,500),
- AWT Dispro (furniture, $31,368), Bren-Mar (facility renovation, $27,500),
- and M33 Access (grounding, $7,300).
The $260,427 also includes an estimated $15,000 for electrical work, which Fenton will seek bids for a second time.
Moducom is based in Southern California and would handle its Fenton 911 dispatch bids through a local distributor, Machuta said. Machuta has worked on several projects with Moducom, which receives many federal contracts.