CSET Receives Update on Highland/Sheriff 911 Consolidation

The Emergency Telephone System Board was recently made aware of the consolidation of the Highland Dispatch Center into the Madison County Sheriff’s Department 911 call center.

Additionally, council approved the purchase of monitoring stations for the project and learned that other previously approved expenses had already been paid for by the city.

The board also heard a request from the Madison County Department of Information Technology to participate in the purchase of computer system security applications.

The 911 call center consolidation, which has been underway for some time, is part of Madison County’s overall 911 consolidation plan, which is still stalled in court.

Capt. G. Cale Becker, communications commander for the sheriff’s department, said the switchover took place on August 17.

“All systems are in place and working as expected,” he said, adding that they “fix issues” that always arise in projects like this.

After being questioned by the board, he noted that the sheriff’s department was at capacity for dispatchers and could no longer handle consolidations without expanding the building.

The board also approved the purchase of two Kenwood P25 control stations from Global Technical Systems as part of the consolidation at a cost of $18,990.

Madison County 911 Manager Dana Burris told CSET that a previously approved purchase of consoles for consolidation has been paid for by Highland. The $15,312 cost, which will be reimbursed by the state once the full consolidation of 911 is complete, was approved by the county at last month’s meeting.

Burris also said a decision on the legal challenge to the state’s rejection of Madison County’s 911 consolidation plan will be delayed after Illinois State Police requested an extension to the deadline. August 6 for a final response. The new deadline is October 17.

In late 2019, the Illinois State Police rejected CSET’s consolidation plan. The CSET challenged the decision in court; a final decision has been delayed in part due to legal issues related to St. Clair County opposition and COVID-19.

In other cases, the CSET approved two in-state conference travel requests totaling approximately $1,200. He also heard a brief presentation from Madison County CIO Chris Bethel on CSET’s involvement in the purchase of a “whitelisted” application security software program. The total cost is approximately $40,000, with the county requesting $10,000 from CSET.

The system would give the county greater control over the apps used to open attachments in emails, helping to prevent the spread of malware and viruses.

After some discussion, the board asked the IT department to submit their information for review next month. One problem is that 911 funds are limited in their use, and the county must determine whether this complies with state law.

The board also acted on several personnel issues after a closed meeting.

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