Commissioners approve purchase of updated data, communication equipment for EOC
Mark Friedel Staff Reporter
Rogers County Commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to approve the purchase of data and communication equipment for the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located in the old courtroom of the Rogers County Jail.
The new system switch would cost roughly $14,600 to implement, said Rogers County Courthouse IT Director Brett Williston.
District 1 Commissioner Dan DeLozier recently asked District 2 Commissioner Mike Helm to meet with the sheriff’s office and Williston regarding where the funds for the updated phone system switch would come from and who would use it.
“This is something we have been working on for a couple of months. This is going to be the equipment that will tie in the EOC to the courthouse’s current phone system,” he said.
The courthouse implemented an updated system in March. Williston said the effects have been positive, cutting the facility’s phone bill down from $5,000 per month to $1,500 per month.
By putting this type of investment into the infrastructure, there will be no additional phone costs, phone bills or internet bills.
The county was hoping to split the costs for the equipment between emergency management and the sheriff’s office; however, the Undersheriff John Sappington argued that RCSO would have no reason to properly use the switch, therefore they do not feel like they should pay for half of the costs.
“We operate on our own system (network). The reason is for security purposes,” said Sappington.
He said the EOC does not need a secured database, but just internet and phone service. In addition the EOC phone line would be from the jail and not from the updated system at the courthouse because the jail is operating on a category three standard cable and the courthouse is running on a category five.
“Instead of being on part of the courthouse’s phone system and having all the amenities, like the call recording, voice mail and auto attendance, the EOC would be on a basic Plexar system,” said Williston. “For whatever reason the jail was built with CAT 3 cable, which does not have the ability to transfer data over the same line.”
Williston said at no time in the future would the sheriff’s office allow an assessor employee to connect to the sheriff’s network. The two will never merge because of the huge security risk involved.
“The issue is not to have the sheriff’s office on the same server as the courthouse or EOC, but to have the EOC on the courthouse’s current phone system so that we can save money. I know the upfront investment is costly, but we’re going to make that money up just in the first couple of months on the phone bill alone,” said Williston.
“In a Plexar system you put in an additional line, you’re going to have an additional monthly bill. Here we have a collection of numbers, (ie: if someone needs to configure a new phone number, there is no monthly cost) we pay a base rate every month.”
Sappington said if the sheriff’s office would spend $20,000 to upgrade the entire building to CAT 5, then they would make the switch purchase, however, RCSO operates fine with the service they have now.
District 3 Commissioner Kirt Thacker made the motion to pay for the switch for the EOC from 911 addressing funds.