DeSoto 911 panel adds tech-savvy Horn Lake official [The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.]
(Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 02--The DeSoto Emergency 911 District Commission this week welcomed its newest member, Michael Norris, network administrator for the Horn Lake Police information technology unit, and immediately plugged him into the nuts and bolts with consideration of new battery backup systems for three of the district's four cell towers.
The seven-member panel, at the recommendation of 911 deputy director James Powell, Wednesday approved the lowest and best bid of Tupelo-based 3-Point Technologies at $66,297. The package includes a one-year warranty extension and quarterly preventive maintenance visits.
"The UPS units we have at those towers are pretty well worn out," said commission chairman Bill Dahl, referring to "uninterruptible power supplies."
The systems are designed to keep a tower working during the critical interim when regular power is lost, such as in a severe storm or other disaster, and before emergency generators kick on.
"We had the choice of just replacing the UPS batteries, but that wouldn't be a good use of funds with the units at the end-of-life stage," said Dahl. "Now we'll
get new systems, which also will be compatible with the radio system we'll be installing."
At an estimated cost of $5 million to $8 million or more, the district plans to replace and upgrade by 2015 the 911 and radio infrastructure computer-driver system, also nearing the end of its optimal life span.
The project includes consoles that receive emergency calls, and the radio units used by dispatchers to alert and send firefighters, police, deputies or search and rescue teams.
The UPS systems will be installed at the towers in Southaven, Olive Branch and Hernando, said Commissioner Chris Shelton, who made the motion to approve the 3-Point bid.
He said the tower on Starlanding Road near Nesbit already has an updated UPS unit.
The commission also heard a series of committee and operations reports. Jim Marineau, president of Integrated Communications, the district's maintenance contractor, reported no serious issues for December and January: "It was extremely quiet, scary quiet, uncharacteristically quiet."
"No news is good news," Dahl said
The commission also approved about $144,570 in expenses for the two months.
Norris replaces Horn Lake police chief Darryl Whaley, who departed the commission to accolades after serving nearly two decades.
Norris was named to the panel by DeSoto Supervisor Lee Caldwell of Nesbit, and the nomination was affirmed by the five-member county governing board at its Jan. 21 meeting.
"He's been working closely with Chief Whaley on emergency issues for some time, and it was a natural fit to appoint Michael," said Caldwell. "He's knowledgeable on IT matters and a real team player."
Whaley had served 17 years on the commission "and he did a wonderful job," said Caldwell.
"He wanted to pass the position on, but was waiting for the right person who shared his passion for providing the best emergency communication services for the county."
(c)2013 The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tenn.)
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