Franklin Police updates communications division

Published 11:44 am Friday, August 28, 2015

At Monday’s city council meeting, Franklin Police Chief Phil Hardison and Communications Manager Bruce Edwards presented an update on the efforts, successes and remaining challenges involving the agency’s technology and facility security capabilities. The presentation included information regarding personnel updates, training, grants, projects and other items.

One major concern for the department is the state of the 14-year-old city-wide radio system because its network has a limited coverage area. Edwards also pointed out that the dispatch consoles, which are also 14-years-old, are near the end of their life span — they do not run on new computer hardware or software and some parts are no longer available.

“The radio system in place is at a critical stage and is causing problems for us every day,” he said.

Edwards also presented two options for the council to consider. Option one includes completely replacing the current system, using equipment that is capable of both digital and analog operations and will have a five-channel, two-site system. The other choice is to replace police, fire and emergency medical service radios and construct a new three-channel, two-site system.

They relayed to the council that much of the cost for facility and training improvements have been funded through grant assistance.

The process through which fire and rescue calls are being answered is on the way to be fixed.

“When a citizen from Southampton County would place a 911 call, the call had to be answered by Southampton and then transferred to Franklin so the necessary resources could be dispatched.”

This was causing a delay in sending help to people close to Franklin Fire and Rescue stations No. 1 and No. 5, which straddle the city-county line.

Edwards said that the first phase of the process is complete, and that the second phase should be in place by January 2016.

Additionally, the department is upgrading its security with new access control, CCTV (cameras/recorders), CAD to CAD Interface, disaster recovery site and server replacement.

The department also has an opening for one part-time position and one dispatcher supervisor in their training office to add to their eight full-time staff members.