The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

November 29, 2012

Legislature approves new 911 upgrades

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — The Orleans County Legislature approved an agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and Verizon that will accelerate the local arrival of the next generation in 911 communications, according to the official who negotiated the contract.

Kevin Doherty, the owner of Doherty Communications, told legislators that when the telecom provider for many emergency service providers — including the County Sheriff’s and Emergency Management departments — went bankrupt it created both a problem and an opportunity.

“We had a relatively new product with no factory back-up,” Doherty said of the recently purchased equipment. “With Verizon, we can refresh or replace the equipment three to five years ahead of time ... equipment with next generation technology.” 

Legislators did just that, approving a $205,812.80 service agreement for new equipment and another $92,872.72 for labor with Verizon’s business consumer arm.

Doherty said the next-generation platforms purchased by the county will not immediately be able to bring Orleans County to the next step in 911 communications but will prove to be a cheaper way to be ready for the next technology step.

The ability for text and picture messages to be submitted, received and recorded by emergency service providers is likely a few more years away. But soon the assumed notion that texts to 911 will be understood and acted on will be a reality.

“People have gotten ahead of the technology,” Doherty noted. “It’s clearly advantageous in a situation like a fire, where a photo can tell responders more than a person.”

When that happens, Orleans and other counties that have upgraded their technological platforms will be ready to advance. Doherty predicts the technology catching up in the middle of this decade; the Orleans County equipment is set to be installed next spring.

One change that is occurring earlier is the reduction of the County Mental Health Department’s Continuing Day Treatment Program, which was unanimously recommended by the County’s Community Services Board and planned in the County’s 2013 preliminary budget.

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