E911 center ready to move

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2003

Enhanced 911 just got some new digs. The citizens of Selma are about to get a little enhanced security.

According to Dick Bean, The E911 District Board of Commissioners purchased land and property at 311 Dallas Ave. July 1. The property, known as the old pathology lab, is slated to be the board’s new central communications center.

The current center is located at 12 Franklin Ave.

The E911 board voted unanimously March 31 to move the center. Board chairman Steve Tidwell said reasons for the move included the center’s current state of disrepair as well as homeland security issues.

Bean, administrative coordinator with the board, said the Department of Homeland Security advises that the center be separate from the police station.

Also, the new location is on a different power grid than the 12 Franklin St. center. If power fails at the police station, which is right next door to the center’s current locale, the 311 Dallas Ave. building won’t be guaranteed to simultaneously fail.

While touring the new facility, Bean pointed to the concrete-and-brick construction as a strong point. &uot;It’s probably as tornado proof as you can get a building in Selma,&uot; Bean said.

To make the building even more secure, Bean said the windows would be replaced with a bullet proof, smash proof material before opening the facility Oct. 1.

The installation of an eight-foot-high fence is another step in the building’s security.

One aspect of the plan that’s changed is the purchase of a vacant lot off Pettus Street. Instead of entering the center from Pettus Street, those entering the premises will enter from Dallas Avenue.

Before the new center becomes operational, renovation must occur, equipment moved and new equipment purchased. All costs, including the building’s purchase, total $295,000. Bean said the original estimate was $395,000, but because the board opted not to install a tower the cost was lowered.

Bean said the remodeling process was under way and jobs were being put out for bid. Communications equipment is scheduled to be moved in September.

Equipment enabling the center to enter Phase II is scheduled to be installed by Oct. 1, but will most likely become operational sometime after.

According to Bean, Phase II will allow E911 operators to see the location of a cell phone user on a view screen.

Impetus for the move came after a meeting in summer 2002 between board members and City of Selma representatives. Bean said City Engineer David Painter told board members the current location of 12 Franklin St. could only be used another two years. The board began searching for a new location at that time.