Joint ETSB becomes part of Sourcewell, formerly known as the NJPA

By Benjamin Cox on August 15, 2018 at 9:46pm

Law enforcement can record every second of every call whenever noises or voices can be heard, and local dispatchers just got a lot of digital storage space.

The West Central Joint Emergency Transportation Safety Board of Morgan, Greene, and Calhoun counties met Tuesday evening and, by unanimous vote, approved the budget for fiscal year 2019. According to Phil McCarty, this will be the third full year of operational management since this Joint ETSB was established.

Phil McCarty is the Morgan County Emergency Management and Joint  Dispatch/ETSB Coordinator. In addition this fiscal year’s budget being finalized, the Board, led by Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen, also made a series of choices that will impact the board’s control of information regarding all emergency calls and contact.

McCarty explains one crucial approval, which was expansion of the board’s current Document Storage Policy, primarily in regards to recorded audio.

“We have 4 terabytes of storage capabilities, and we have now purchased equipment to add 20 terabytes of digital document storage for a total of 24 terabytes.”

McCarty also clarified the need of an automatic generator at the ETSB post in Roodhouse.

“Roodhouse is one of our primary communication sites for Greene and Calhoun County. When the power is out, that’s when Emergency Services need to be active. We have a generator on site, but it will not automatically activate based on faulty electrical or temperature conditions.”

The Board also chose to join a group that would impact many future purchases called Sourcewell, though many who have worked at nonprofits or in education and local government probably remember them as the National Joint Powers Alliance.

“We as government look at a number of different ways to joint purchase, using our power as a whole to get as much of a discount on emergency services equipmentand utilizing our funding in the most efficient way possible. Sourcewell is a national group purchase program that we are going to first utilize for the purchase of the generator.”

In his closing report, McCarty started a discussion regarding the purchase of certain protocols for dispatchers to implement in the assistance of 911 callers for fire-specific issues, but many members of the board were unsure of the idea of waiting to get similar protocols for 911 calls to police. There are already distinct protocols in place for Emergency Medical Dispatch. These protocols essentially serve as a scripted set of responses that assist both dispatchers and citizens in determining the best course of safety personnel response to emergencies.

In the end, the Board decided it best to get back in contact with the agency who issues the protocols and attempt to purchase both for no more than $110,000 total. If the agency will not sell both for that amount, the Board will move forward to only purchase the Emergency Fire Dispatch protocols during the September meeting for this protocol agency’s quoted price of nearly $68,000.