Committee Formed, Not Board, to Discuss Consolidation of 911 Call Centers in White County | New

A committee has been formed to discuss consolidating 911 call centers in the county, but not a 911 board, according to White County Judge Michael Lincoln.

Lincoln said Tuesday evening that he formed the committee made up of people from the two public safety response point operations in the county. The committee is made up of Lincoln, Searcy Mayor Kyle Osborne, Searcy Police Chief Steve Hernandez, White County Judge-elect Lisa Brown, White County 911 Coordinator Amy Barnett and County Sheriff by White Phillip Miller.

“It’s six members of a committee; we are not a 911 board,” he told the county budget and finance committee. “It’s going around there. I don’t have the authority to appoint a 911 board. We haven’t even decided if we’re going to have a 911 board.

“We had one in the past, you all remember it, you all repealed that order and placed 911 operations under the responsibility of the Buildings and Grounds / Public Safety and Personnel Committee, of so that any problem related to 911 goes through the justice system. [Nathan] Lincoln and the Buildings and Soil Committee.

Lincoln said he was accused of heavily burdening the committee with “Searcy individuals”. He said Searcy’s mayor and police chief are just two members and the county is four.

“I’m really fed up with some of the people stirring the pot and spreading the rumors to the point that I’m going to be making calls to the people overseeing these individuals to try to shut them up,” he said.

Lincoln said the committee was needed because “the state’s 911 board has reduced White County to a PSAP.”

“I’m not happy about that. Y’all know I’m not happy with that,” he said. “I asked you to give me permission to consult our lawyer and I did and he is reviewing it, but we must continue the consolidation effort because if we do not have a plan submitted by the January 1, they cut our funding.

“I’m also upset about this, but the state’s 911 board, which is an appointed board, can reduce the funds that are collected in this county, to go back to the county, but that’s the way it is. “

The committee’s first meeting was “very good,” Lincoln said. “It looks like we are going to be heading to the PSAP located in our [White County] center and White County will be responsible for dispatching White County.

“The other choice we had was for Searcy to keep their PSAP in Searcy Dispatch, but that didn’t seem feasible, so we’re headed in that direction,” to have the county host the PSAP. “What it will look like, we don’t know yet.

If there is a decision in the Consolidation Plan to establish a County 911 Board of Directors, Lincoln said, it will be up to the Buildings and Grounds/Personnel Policy and Public Safety Committee. Lincoln said if that were to happen, the committee would formulate an order that would have to be passed by the White County quorum court to establish the 911 board.

He said that if a council is formed, there should be representatives from the county, the Searcy Fire Department, the White County Sheriff’s Office, rural fire departments, the Searcy Police Department and maybe some city officials.

“We’re in new territory,” Lincoln said, “consolidation by the state’s 911 board.”

In August 2021, the state Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve the distribution of funds to 79 PSAPs statewide, which will require the consolidation of multiple PSAPs. The decision is based on the 92nd General Assembly establishing Law 660, the Public Safety Law of 2019, in April 2019.

“Prior to the implementation of Law 660, there were 114 PSAPs in operation in the state of Arkansas,” the state’s 911 board wrote in a letter to the governor and the Arkansas legislature. Status in January. “Due to a number of consolidations since the Public Safety Act of 2019, there are currently 100 funded PSAPs.

“As a result of a study by Federal Engineering Inc., a report was provided to the Arkansas 911 Board… The report’s recommendation is that Arkansas could support 79 PSAPs statewide. Pursuant to Section 12-10-305, which allows the board to fund more or less than 77 PSAPs with a two-thirds vote, the Arkansas 911 Board accepted the consultant’s recommendation and, by unanimous vote , approved funding for 79 PSAPs.

According to the letter, funding is allocated “based on a maximum of one PSAP per county with a population of 150,000 or less, up to two PSAPs for counties with a population ranging from 150,001 to 349,999. and up to three PSAPs per county. with populations over 350,000.”

The board set deadlines of January 1, 2023, for the submission of consolidation plans, with funding stopping “on that date for PSAPs that choose not to participate in the consolidation planning process”, and January 1 2025, for the completion of the consolidations. , while funding will only be distributed to the 79 PSAPs.

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