County talks technology upgrade for emergency services

Published 5:25 pm Friday, June 28, 2019

On Thursday, representatives from Troup County Emergency 911 and the Troup County Sheriff’s Office answered questions about a proposed software update that they hope will improve response times to incidents. 

The proposed software update under Professional and Technical Software Solutions SPLOST IV would replace aging software with a new system that TCSO coordinated with the manufacturer to ensure it would meet their needs. It is expected to cost $75,000.

“The current software is nearing its end of life,” E911 Director Jason Lawson said. “Most software is made to expire like computers. This is the next step. We believe it will have some new functionality that we can use that will be a little more compatible and make our dispatcher’s jobs a lot easier.”

Lawson said that he has observed the new version of software in use and is satisfied with the product. Additionally, according to Lawson, the new software will be compatible with the old software, making it possible to upgrade software in sections. 

“It is going to be a tiered roll-out,” County Manager Eric Mosley said. “We just can’t feasibly take on all of these upgrades immediately, so it will roll-out over about a 12 to 16-month process.”

Even before the upgrade, the software is already being used throughout the county, but speakers said the upgrade is needed in order to perform basic, daily activities in a reasonable timeframe.

“Currently, what we have is a system that doesn’t function as it should, just to be blunt about it,” Sgt. Nathan Taylor said. 

“We have some issues with citations processing, so a deputy can stop your car for doing 96 miles per hour, type the ticket out and the ticket doesn’t process or it processes and can’t print the ticket. So, therefore we are stuck in a situation where we hold the driver for 15 minutes and reboot our entire system, or we cut them loose. There are some times where the drivers get cut loose just for time’s sake.”

According to Taylor, TCSO will receive the mobile build for free in return for beta testing the software.

The possibility of installing mobile data terminals in fire trucks and rapid response vehicles was also discussed, along with the benefits of those systems.

“I think in the future, we would like to see having a mobile data terminal in all of our fire trucks,” Mosley said. “What that does is that [it allows] fire truck to pull up on the scene, and they know EMS data. They know past history. They potentially have access to building schematics, pre-fire plans, and that is obviously the future of fire services. I’m seeing that across the nation, so that is something that we would like to do in the near term.”

According to Mosley, the main costs associated with the terminals would be the purchase of laptops and the software. County Commission Chairman Patrick Crews suggested that the county use the quick response vehicles as a trial run for the fire department’s use of the system, and Mosley said that SPLOST V funds could be used to outfit the fire department’s rapid response vehicles.

Other items covered during the work session included:

4The Troup County Board of Commissioners reviewed a request from the sanitation department to purchase 15 open top trash containers at a cost of $4,160 each, for a total cost of $65,217, including shipping cost. According to information shared during the meeting, the county currently has 55 open top trash containers, most of which are estimated to be 15 to 20 years old.

4The board of commissioners also briefly discussed security improvements to the Troup County Government Center and the agenda for its next meeting.

The Troup County Board of Commissioners will hold its final millage rate hearing and regular meeting on Tuesday at 9 a.m. at 100 Ridley Avenue.