GREENSBURG — Decatur County Tech Manager Josh Tressler recently appealed to the Decatur County Commissioners and the Greensburg City Council for their support in upgrading the Critical Public Safety Network used in Decatur County.
“The hardware and software that run all of the public safety systems entities, whether it be the police, the fire, the sheriff’s or communications departments, was purchased several years ago during the dispatch consolidation,” Tressler told the city council. “Some of that equipment is nearing end-of-life, and we’re starting to run into issues of capacity, so we’re needing to do some upgrades.”
Tressler said by replacing the system’s components with newer pieces he could upgrade across the whole system, allowing for more capacity and better flexibility.
“I realize this is a large ask,” he said, “so we’ve worked with Dell on a 3-year lease arrangement with a dollar buyout at the end of the agreement and deferred payments starting in 2021.”
He said there are projects currently on hold because of the lack of capacity with the current hardware/software configuration, and that the deferred payments would allow for some planning. He added that he needed a motion from the council to move forward.
GPD Chief Brendan Bridges said the proposal would require a $15,000 investment from both the Greensburg police and fire departments, and that the GPD could handle its share by amending its vehicle purchase plan.
Fire Chief Nathan Stoermer offered his support of the proposal.
“From the fire department’s end, we will be selling our old portable radios as well as our airpacks,” he said. “That money will go back into the public safety fund as well, and since they’re already paid for that money will be available. Josh has our full support in the project.”
“The systems we use currently aren’t advanced at all. We have two separate systems that I have to have separate screens for and the two systems don’t talk to each other,” he continued. “Unfortunately, we can’t move forward in cleaning up some of our technological issues at the fire department until we have this upgrade.”
Commissioner Rick Nobbe, who was in attendance, said, “Josh came today to visit with us and we approve of this, pending your approval moving forward.”
Tressler was asked about the life expectancy of the upgrades.
“It’s difficult to say for capacity reasons, but we try to stick to a four or five year rotation. To be honest, though, the servers we’re using now are well beyond the usual life expectancy for normal components,” Tressler said. “Without being too technical, I would say that a five year life expectancy is good.”
The proposal is for a system based on components, allowing for modular replacement should a particular component fail. It also allows for upgrades when the need for capacity grows.
Tressler explained that the proposed system had multiple redundancies with a third device located at ETC to serve as back up.
“The way we’re set up now, there have been several three to four hour outages overnight due to the redundancy not working as expected, and a third party having to intervene to repair it,” he said. “This proposal would eliminate the need for one of our third party contracts, even though they are paid through 2020. So, this will also bring some cost saving to the county as well.”
After discussing technical details with members of the council he explained the cost of the new system will be split 50/50 between Greensburg and Decatur County, and that the GPD, the GFD, the DCSD and the Communications Department would each budget $15,500 per year to pay for the investment, with the total cost finishing up at $185,479.
“Considering that the commissioners voted to approve this dependent on our approval, I guess it’s appropriate for us to make a motion or publish some level of support for this proposal – a motion or a vote of confidence,” said council attorney Chris Stephen.
Mayor Josh Marsh suggested the council agree to move forward with the upgrade funding request for the next three years and a motion to that affect was unanimously passed.