A proposal by US WEST to pay for installation of sophisticated computerized emergency telephone answering and dispatching equipment could save Davis County taxpayers more than a half million dollars.
The county is spending $537,000 to convert four dispatch centers to the E911, or enhanced 911, dispatch system. The money is coming from a 50-cents-per-month charge on telephone lines assessed to each customer.At Wednesday's Davis Council of Governments meeting, US WEST representative Jennifer Morrison told the mayors her firm will file a proposal shortly with the Utah Public Service Commission to pay for installation of the 911 system statewide.
Only the larger, urbanized counties are generating enough money from the telephone surcharge to pay for the costly equipment and data base needed to operate the E911 system, Morrison said.
Smaller, rural counties are finding the surcharge is enough to operate and maintain the system once it is installed but can't meet the high up-front installation costs, Morrison said.
But US WEST can't offer to install the equipment in smaller counties and charge the large ones, she said, so the offer of free installation also has to be made to Weber, Davis and Salt Lake counties.
Of the three, only Weber has paid for its advanced system so far, Morrison said. Davis and Salt Lake counties are still installing the equipment and modifying dispatch centers, and neither has been billed for the computer equipment or data base information needed to operate the systems yet.
Morrison said US WEST is still studying details of its proposal and hasn't submitted it formally to the PSC yet. She declined to directly answer one mayor's questions about where her firm will get the money.
US WEST is proposing to begin installation of the E911 system in 1990, Morrison said, and have the entire state wired for 911 service by 1993. There would not be any subsidizing of rural counties by the urban ones, she said, but some rural areas may have to combine services or funding to afford to operate their systems.
Davis County Sheriff's Capt. K.D. Simpson estimated installation cost of the county's system at $537,000. Four regional dispatch centers are being set up, in the Bountiful, Layton and Clearfield police departments and in the sheriff's headquarters in Farmington.
The four dispatch centers are being rebuilt and rewired, including construction of enviromentally controlled rooms, to handle the new system. Construction started earlier this month.
Simpson estimated the new computer and telephone equipment will be delivered in February and installed in March. A testing period will follow, with the advanced system functioning by June.
A basic, or B911, system is already operating but the enhanced, or E911, System gives dispatchers more information about the caller in an emergency. When a call is received, the caller's name and address flashes on the computer screen.
Calls to the 911 number are automatically routed to the correct police or fire agency, so dispatchers don't waste time determining from the caller which city or town they live in, then transferring the call.