Members of the County Council approved the request of Sheriff Matt Hassel to transfer $518,790 from the LIT Special Fund to upgrade four radio counsels in the 911 Central Dispatch Center. 

County Auditor Julie Fox told members there isn’t enough money in Central Dispatch to fund the upgrades, so the Sheriff is asking to use funds from the Special LIT. 

Sheriff Hassel told members the counsels were installed in 2008 and they operate off the XP operating system which is no longer being supported.  He said the counsels are basically a computer that runs the radio system in the jail and for the sheriff’s department. 

The $518,000 will be to upgrade all four counsels in the jail dispatch center.  He asked for another additional of $84,511 in Central Dispatch which will place a complete backup counsel in the Emergency Management Office which works with the county’s Continuity of Operation Plan.  

Councilman Jim Masters asked about support for the new system and the sheriff assured him that Emergency Radio System (ERS) handles all the maintenance and upgrades to the counsils.  An operating system typically changes every 5 to 7 years.

There is a one-year warranty for the new counsels and the jail is already paying a maintenance agreement for the current counsels that will transfer over to the new system. 

Councilman Jesse Bohannon said there have been discussions on what the Special LIT can and cannot be used for.  He said, “While Central Dispatch is in the jail facility this is not an incarceration related expense.  Correct?”  The sheriff agreed and Bohannon said, “I’m assuming you are using this, through the Indiana code that says, ‘revenues raised under this tax may be used only for the following: and one is to equip other criminal justice facilities.’  Would that be the way you are planning to use this to equip another criminal justice facility?”  The sheriff agreed. 

Councilman and former sheriff Jon VanVactor asked, “Does not that system support the communications for your jail?”  Sheriff Hassel said yes and VanVactor said, “So it is directly related to the jail.”  Hassel said they use it to communicate with the jailers and VanVactor said, “it is used to transport prisoners and within the facility itself, so it is directly connected to that facility.”

Councilman Tim Harman asked if there were competing bids for the upgrade and was the county’s IT Department involved?  Sheriff Hassel said, “This is mainly a communication system, and we did our own research looking at other systems but wanted to keep everything Motorola because that’s what we have.  We hate to mix and match the systems like the antennas, car radios and portable radios the officers carry.”  The sheriff said mix and matching would also require additional warranties and maintenance agreements. 

The motion was made to approve the additional appropriation of $518,790 from the LIT Special Purpose to purchase four dispatch counsels in the 911 Central Dispatch Center. 

The contract is in hand and will be presented to the County Attorney after council’s approval and the Commissioners are expected to approve the contract at their meeting next week.  The motion was unanimously approved by the County Council.

The County Council also approved the additional request of Sheriff Hassel for $84,511 in Central Dispatch for a fully functional remote 911 counsel in the Emergency Management Office in the County Building as a back-up for Central Dispatch. 

This request was also unanimously approved by the County Council.