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Plumas sheriff’s dispatch center received needed grant

$129,000 grant goes to replace 15-year-old dispatch radio console

It was state-of-the-art when the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office installed a new dispatch radio console system 15 years ago. But newly appointed Sheriff Todd Johns is looking forward to installing a brand new system thanks to grant funding.

Johns was before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Jan. 21, announcing the receipt of state Homeland Security grant funding. The funding, more than $129,000, is 100 percent. No additional county funds are required, Johns said.

Consoles should be replaced about every five years, Johns told supervisors. However, the department has had to repair the 15-year-old system, and he’s tired of doing it. “It has become a constant maintenance issue and parts are no longer available,” he explained. “This requires considerable effort to find used parts or fix components, they typically would just be replaced in new versions.”

Johns was also before supervisors requesting authorization to sign a contract with Avtec LLC to purchase and install the new system. Johns later stated that the new system should be made available in April.

Johns said the department went with the Avtec system because it is a cost effective solution in replacing the outdated system.

That company was the successful bidder in a National Association of State Procurement Officials competitive process. Prices in that bidding process have been extended to Plumas County, according to Johns.

The system also has other benefits. “As you know, Lassen County Sheriff’s Office and our agency share an E911 system, where either agency can immediately answer the others’ calls if the need arises,” Johns said.

According to the state of California, an E911 is required for services providers of multi-line telephone systems.

Lassen County has an Avtec system that will interface with the new system Plumas County is buying, Johns said. “This will allow either dispatch center to have full functionality of the other and becomes a true secondary facility should we have to abandon the sheriff’s office for some reason,” Johns told the board.

The new system also creates what Johns described as a geo-diverse system that provides redundancy and resilience. Plumas County currently does not have that.

Johns said that the sheriff’s office prioritized its needs as it went along. And it was more than time for the existing console system to be replaced.

“I was shocked,” Supervisor Lori Simpson said when she learned how old the existing dispatch system is. It was purchased in 2005.

The three supervisors at the Jan. 21 meeting approved that Johns could go ahead with the contract. Supervisor Sherrie Thrall was absent.

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