911 board delays equipment purchase

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The move to get Illinois 911 emergency call centers to Next Generation digital service isn’t moving as fast as originally planned.

Nanette Crippes, 911 director, told the Edgar County Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB), the state is working toward identifying multiple, pre-approved vendors to make direct sales to local 911 centers without the need to bid out the work. The ETSB met Monday, Oct. 22.

“This is a way to get equipment that is consistent with the statewide network, but I’m not sure when the statewide system will be in place,” said Crippes.

Board members voiced a preference for waiting to purchase the Next Generation equipment until the state level authorities make some final decisions.

“We don’t want to go out and make a big expenditure and not get the right equipment,” said board member Merle Clark.

According to board member Eric Shaughnessy, time is running out to make the changes. He said legislation making the Illinois State Police responsible for 911 service at the end of 2020 also requires all local 911 centers to be Next Generation compliant by that time.

“That’s when we have to have the new networking equipment in place,” said Shaughnessy.

After an executive session to discuss personnel issues, the board voted to table a contract for Crippes.