911 center gets an upgrade

Allen County's emergency call center will get a simulator phone to educate grade schoolers about calling 911 and an additional radio, among other purchases.

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December 31, 2020 - 9:54 AM

Chelsie Angleton and Karen Kimball talk with commissioners about making upgrades to the county’s 911 dispatch center. Photo by Trevor Hoag

Allen County’s 911 center is getting some upgrades.

Chelsie Angleton, interim 911 communications director, along with Karen Kimball, received permission from Allen County commissioners to make several key purchases for the dispatch station.

One item was a “simulator phone” for helping to educate grade schoolers about calling 911. Until this point, they had been using a classic hand-held for such purposes, where a lot of the students had never even seen or used one before. The cost of the simulator was $5,000.

Commissioners also approved the purchase of an additional UHF radio for $1,082.

Angleton had received bids for painting an ugly peach and lime green-colored garage on-site, and received permission from commissioners to have Chad Reeves do the work for $4,750.

Jonathon Goering and Jessica Thompson of Thrive Allen County speak to commissioners about improvements to the airport as well as grants for a proposed communications tower. Photo by Trevor Hoag

She also received permission from commissioners to purchase new shelving for storing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), where the work will be completed by General Repair of Iola for $5,686.

Jonathon Goering, economic development director for Thrive Allen County, continued a discussion with commissioners about making improvements to the Allen County Regional Airport.

He said that a meeting was scheduled with the Kansas Department of Commerce on the matter, and that they planned to talk about various regulations, funding opportunities and building sites.

“It’s a fact-gathering meeting,” he said.

Goering also noted that specific places in Allen County were being considered as “certified sites,” meaning that they could be fast-tracked for development.

Jessica Thompson, director of development for Thrive Allen County, discussed with commissioners some details of the county’s proposed Emergency Services radio tower.

The tower would have space on it for commercial broadband use, from a provider to be determined, as well as providing improved communications for the Sheriff’s Office.

A matching grant was recently made available to pay half the tower’s cost ($750,000 – $800,000), and so commissioners approved pursuing the grant despite a very tight deadline.

According to commissioner Jerry Daniels, five or six interested contractors had already put in bids for the tower’s construction.

Becky Voorhies of Thrive Allen County was on-hand to discuss CARES Act/SPARK funding one final time.

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