Perkins stymied by E911 Board

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Silence filled the Dallas County Commission chambers when Enhanced 911 (E911) Chairman Steve Tidwell called for motions on Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr.’s proposals. No motions were made.

At the board’s Tuesday meeting, Perkins presented two alternative proposals to the board’s current plan of relocating its communication center from 12 Franklin St. to 311 Dallas Ave. None mustered a motion from the seven-member committee.

The board voted unanimously at its March 31, 2003, meeting to relocate the center. At the time, Tidwell said reasons for the move included the center’s state of disrepair and homeland security guidelines.

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Perkins and Councilwoman Jean Martin have previously opposed the center’s move because 311 Dallas Ave. is in a historical district. Perkins also said Selma’s police and fire departments want the center at its current location.

After Tidwell said he understood the motions to be dead, Perkins said he was considering recommending to the Selma City Council that the city step aside and allow E911 to handle all emergency calls.

During his presentation, Perkins asked the board what the move would achieve. Tidwell said the relocation would resolve the current location’s state of disrepair, move towards phase II compliance and maintain joint operations between the city, county and board.

Phase II compliance involves pinpointing cell phone locations when a cell phone user contacts E911.

Perkins said he understood the board’s goals, but wanted to achieve them differently. One option included renovating the center’s current location and erecting a new tower

adjacent to 12 Franklin St. The estimated cost is $254,000 &045;&045;less than the $390,000 it would cost move to 311 Dallas Ave., Perkins said.

Tidwell said E911 didn’t need a tower for its operations; the Selma Police Department, though, does. According to Tidwell, it is the board’s responsibility to answer E911 calls, not dispatch them.

E911 administrative coordinator Dick Bean elaborated. The E911 service charge pays for the technology enabling people to contact E911 during an emergency. The board’s only responsibilities were to answer calls and forward them to the proper agency.

Perkins, however, said he thought he had provided a cheaper option to the board than relocating to Dallas Avenue; if cost was the only issue, the board would remain on Franklin Street.