ST. JOHN | Vendors seeking to provide the $36.2 million in public safety communications hardware for the county's new consolidated E-911 services have been given another two weeks to respond to a request for proposals.
The extension until Jan. 21 was announced by Lake County E-911 Executive Director Brian Hitchcock at Thursday’s meeting of the Lake County Public Safety Communications Commission. The commission is composed of a group of police and fire chiefs and county officials.
The deadline extension comes in the wake of numerous questions from vendors about structuring bids.
A mandatory meeting with vendors is set for Jan. 6 at the Lake County Government Complex, Hitchcock said. Answers to vendors' questions and a review of request for proposals specifications will be discussed.
Consultant Tom Dabertin also unveiled three timelines necessary to get the new consolidated E-911 system running by the Dec. 31, 2014, deadline set by the state.
The first task on the timeline is hiring a deputy director. Three candidates for the post will be interviewed by the commission during an executive session Jan. 9. The deputy director appointment must be approved by the Lake County commissioners at their Jan. 15 meeting.
In February, dispatchers currently employed by the 18 Lake County municipalities will receive information letters about the approximately 100 dispatching positions available in the consolidated system, Dabertin said. Lake County will pay the salaries and benefits for the consolidated system dispatchers.
A meeting with dispatchers interested in applying for the consolidated system will be in April, and interviews likely will be conducted in July, he said. Training paid for by Lake County will be provided on a flexible schedule to accommodate current work schedules about four hours a day, Hitchcock said.
“Consolidated dispatching is different than current dispatching,” Dabertin said about the need for training.
The timeline for building the Lake County Public Safety Answering Points at the government center also was discussed.
The dispatch and computer center needs to be done first, because the infrastructure includes a raised floor and special heating, ventilation and cooling equipment, Dabertin said.
“We may not have all the offices done by December (2014),” he said.
A secure, sheltered outbuilding likely will be necessary to house transmitters, said Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller, head of the facilities committee.
A request for proposals for the facilities construction will be issued in March, Miller said.