Cass Co. Supervisors approve exploration of Comm Center expansion options


October 31st, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Wednesday), agreed to allow Public Safety Commission chairman Steve Livengood, the opportunity to begin a fact-finding mission in advance of a possible, future expansion and/or relocation of the County Communications Center. Livengood said the reason the Commission wants to explore all the options, is because the Comm Center…located in the basement of the Courthouse, is beginning to run out of room, and future equipment needs are likely to press the space to the limit. Livengood said future, Enhanced 9-1-1 upgrades will require new equipment, and quite possibly, additional personnel to run that equipment. Livengood said the fact-finding mission could include observation of other how other 9-1-1 centers operate, an addition to the courthouse, relocation of the Comm Center, and, in the distant future, the possibility of a shared Communications Center with one or more counties or entities. He says the State Patrol may be one of those entities that figures into a future equation. Livengood says it‘s simply an opportunity to explore all the options now, instead of being forced to make a rush decision in the future.

Cass County 9-1-1 Coordinator Rob Koppert says constantly changing technology in methods of communicating with 9-1-1 is the main reason for the Public Safety Commission to explore all the options.  He says communications centers are or will be receiving 9-1-1 text messages and picture or video from the scene of an emergency. All of that requires equipment which will not fit into the current Comm. Center confines.  Koppert says it will likely require and expansion of the current facilities or relocation, and at least one or two more personnel to operate the additional equipment 24/7. He said the likelihood of a “Regional Communications Center” — with two-or-three combined counties and or other entities, is not expected anytime soon, for technical reasons, and because no one has seriously explored that option at this point in time.