911 agreement finalized

Published 5:46 pm Friday, March 15, 2024

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GATESVILLE – With the stroke of a pen, the Perquimans-Gates 911 Center consolidation is now official.

Last week, the commissioners of both counties formally agreed to a resolution that calls for a long-term interlocal agreement for the consolidation of 911 communications services for Perquimans County and Gates County.

The Gates County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to enter the agreement on Wednesday, March 6.

The agreement, which comes after Gates County’s 911 Center fell out of compliance with North Carolina E-911 Board due to staffing shortages and because of incomplete paperwork, means that citizens of the county, as well as its visitors, will have continued 911 Services provided by highly trained 911 telecommunicators on duty in Perquimans County 24 hours per day/7 days per week/365 days per year. Those telecommunicators and support staff are committed to providing quality service for both counties.

When calling 911 from either county you will be greeted by a telecommunicator asking “Perquimans-Gates 911, what’s the address·of the emergency?”

Additionally, Text-to-911 service is provided for both counties.

Other features provided by the combined operation include Rapid SOS, a redundant data pathway that supports the safety and security of local citizens; Prepared Live, which allows telecommunicators to view live video and pictures directly from the caller’s device; and Rapid Deploy will be utilized to support the quality improvement process through data analytics.

The combined communications center will also offer after hours administrative services for the Sheriff’s Office, Department of Social Services, Magistrate’s, and local utilities for both counties, including the towns of Hertford, Winfall, and Gatesville.

Management of the consolidated Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) will be the responsibility of the 911 Communications Division of Perquimans County Emergency Services. Meanwhile, the current Perquimans 911 Communications Division Advisory Board will be expanded to include representation from both Perquimans and Gates counties.

Moving forward, any allocations earmarked for Gates County from the State E-911 Board will be assigned to Perquimans County. All other expenses for 911 services not paid through the Emergency Telephone System Fund (ETSF) will now be shared by both counties.

The resolution says that prior to April 30 of each year that this agreement is in effect, the Perquimans County Manager will notify the Gates County Manager of the projected compensation costs associated with the agreement. Gates County shall include such amount in its annual budget. Perquimans County will invoice Gates County quarterly for those costs with payments due Sept. 30, Dec. 31, March 31, and June 30.

Perquimans County agrees to have at least four telecommunicators working each shift as well as having sufficient management personnel to ensure proper operations of the Communications Center as required by the State E-911 Board.

Perquimans County also agrees to train all telecommunicators and require them to obtain the certifications necessary to perform their jobs.

This joint venture represents a continued commitment by both Boards of Commissioners to provide quality services to the citizens of the two counties at a reasonable cost with a plan that is sustainable both now and in the future.

The document is signed by Wallace Nelson, Chair of the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners, and Dr. Althea Riddick, Chair of the Gates County Board of Commissioners.

As part of the transition of 911 calls to Perquimans County, the Gates County Board of Commissioners, at its March 6 meeting, approved the transfer of $110,000 from its fund balance.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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