MECA board votes to fix digital system

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Thunderbolt

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MARION COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) - For two months now, I-Team 8 has been sounding the alarm.

Marion County has a new emergency communications system that hampers public safety.

At issue, the new digital radio system in the 9-1-1 call center. Right now operators hear 9-1-1 callers through their headsets. But the voices of the responders, such as police officers and firefighters come through a speaker. It can be difficult to have clear communication.

On Thursday, a crucial vote by the MECA board brought relief to most police officers and firefighters.

"I've got a motion on the floor for 154 boxes, that's the motion," said Chairman Joe Wright.

Chairman Wright didn't vote, but the other 4 MECA board members did and voted to spend $274,000 on boxes that will put all audio through a dispatcher's headset. But the fix isn't coming to Beech Grove.

Mayor Wright believes in keeping the 911 call and the communication with fire and police separate. That would lead to a change in practice. One of his own firefighters took exception as did board member Scott Newman.

"Since our chairman who represents the excluded cities has taken the position they are not necessary here. If he changes his position and apologizes to the telecommunicators of Marion County that might be a different thing," said Scott Newman a member on the MECA board.

Keric Fitzgerald of the Beech Grove Fire Department said, "You're asking Mayor Wright to apologize MECA chairman or not doesn't change that fact and if we determine this is what is needed for safer system so why would we want to exclude the boxes for Beech Grove?

It's still not determined who will pay the extra cost to fix the system. The taxpayers or Motorola the manufacturer. Also unknown is what the board will look like after its August meeting.

Public safety director and board member Scott Newman said he's still planning to try to remove the chairman Joe Wright from the board because of the way he's failed to address this safety issue in a timely manner.

http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8730023&nav=menu35_4
 
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wa8pyr

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Having that many open speakers in a dispatch center is a disaster....
And since when does the Mayor decide headsets aren't necessary? Has he ever been a dispatcher in a busy comm center?

Speaking as a dispatcher of 22 years, it seems to me that the dispatchers who use the equipment should make that determination....
 

n5ims

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The mayor did lots of research and discovered that he likes using the speakerphone much better than the phone handset. What's good for him must be best for dispatch as well!
 

n6766j

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Headset vs Speaker

Respectfully...what planet are you from? I have been in professional communications for over 30 years. If you have ever had a headset on and had to sort out a 9-1-1 caller from radio traffic, you would NEVER draw that conclusion. It is not a detriment to the system to have the SELECT speaker on the Motorola console spit out the radio audio when you are on the phone. Just think...would you want a dispatcher to try to figure out what is happening at your house so they can send help, only to be "blocked" by radio traffic in the same ear and then delay help to you?

A dispatch center that is designed properly will have attenuation built into the furniture/consoles etc. to reduce the ambient noise level.

It took 7 years to get my dispatch center to get both feeds out of our headsets.
 

CCHLLM

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When I was in college, a professor lecturing on the psychology of the workplace and corporate hierarchies left this as his concluding statement: "Those who have little to no experience or knowledge on a subject, yet have the hierarchal high ground always make the decisions for those whose place in the hierarchy may well give them the knowledge and experience but no opportunity for input, and who are also left to live with the results, good or bad, and with no recourse."
 

AK9R

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The debate as to whether radio audio should be in the headset or the speaker is interesting, but my question has to do with what was specified. This was a public project, so there had to be a set of project specifications and request for proposal. If MECA's specifications did not call for radio audio in the headset, then it would seem that MECA will have to pay for this change order. If MECA's specifications called for radio audio in the headset and the vendor (Motorola, in this case) missed it, then it would seem that Motorola is stuck with fixing their oversight.

For the original system, MECA hired Ameritech to be the system integrator. Ameritech designed the system and then brought in other vendors, including Motorola, to provide various parts of the system. It seems that this time around, MECA decided to go directly to the vendor. Time will tell as to whether or not that was a good idea.
 
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