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Westmoreland 911 center to get new equipment

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Westmoreland County commissioners on Thursday approved a $400,000 upgrade for the county's emergency dispatch center, which eventually could enable it to take on additional duties.

Officials agreed to buy new furniture to house work stations for dispatchers as well as updated computers and software used by on-duty 911 call-takers.

“It's a sizable investment, but we have to make sure we have state-of-the-art equipment at the center. The public deserves it,” Commissioner Ted Kopas said.

The purchases include about $349,000 earmarked for 22 steel workstations from Motorola Solutions Inc. of Shaumburg, Ill., which will replace wooden furniture bought when the 911 center opened Sept. 11, 2001, on Donohoe Road in Hempfield when it relocated from the courthouse in Greensburg.

Public Safety Director Michael Brooker conceded the work stations are expensive pieces of furniture, but he said they are specialty equipment designed for use by around-the-clock dispatchers.

The new work stations, which carry limited lifetime warranties, will be 6 inches smaller than the old stations to enable the center to house more staff on the dispatch floor.

Brooker said the additional space is needed to house extra staff that will be brought on duty in December when the county center takes over dispatching duties for Murrysville police.

“We're trying to plan for the future,” Brooker said.

The county handles dispatching duties for most fire, ambulance and police departments. State police, as well as police in North Huntingdon and Greensburg, are dispatched locally, as are Latrobe fire departments and ambulance service in North Huntingdon.

In addition, the county will purchase new computer-aided dispatch computers and a software system to run the new hardware.

The existing computers and software are outdated and need to be replaced, Brooker said.

The county will pay Dell Inc. of Pittsburgh nearly $47,000 for the computers and another $14,000 for the software.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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