The Jefferson City Police Department is considering a change to its 911 operating system with a focus on better
Currently, the system uses a program called Solacom for receiving calls and connecting officers with incidents.
However, JCPD Lt. Chad Stieferman said the department is having issues with the program’s customer service and still has open maintenance requests from two years ago.
Stieferman is recommending the city switch to company Intrado when its contract with Solacom expires in November. Jefferson City has used Solacom for six years.
A five-year contract with Intrado would cost about $443,000, Stieferman said. The bulk of it would be a startup cost of installing new equipment then about $25,000 a year for ongoing maintenance.
He hasn’t discussed the matter with the Cole County Sheriff’s Department yet, but the two could split some of the cost since the Jefferson City 911 call center services all of Cole
County for police, fire and EMS.
“We think they’ll understand, when the time comes to speak with them, the importance of it and the fact that, as partners, they share 25 percent of the expense,” Police Chief Roger Schroeder said.
Stieferman said Intrado would be the last piece in making the 911 center more
connected with others in the area.
Boone County uses Intrado and is toward the end of its first contract cycle with the
“It’s not just that we’re going to go with it just because Boone County has it,” Stieferman said. “We’ve taken operators out, let them beat down the people that are using it, ask the questions, and they have yet to find a question that they’ve asked that hasn’t been satisfactorily answered saying ‘yes, the system can do that.’ We’re still finding stuff that the system will do that they want it to do that our current system doesn’t.”
If the two jurisdictions use the same system, Stieferman said, it’s easier to help each other if a system goes down.
With Intrado, if Boone County’s system goes down, then 911 operators can come to Jefferson City, log in with their credentials, and accept calls and direct Boone County officers.
It would also work in reverse if Jefferson City operators needed to go to Boone County.
Moniteau and Gasconade counties also use Intrado, and Stieferman said he has discussed Osage County switching as well.
“It really streamlines that interconnectivity between us and adds an additional layer of redundancy to make sure that if 911 goes down, we’re back up and running very efficiently and not relying on another jurisdiction to process our calls for us,” he said.
Intrado offers a text-to-911 service, which the center has been working to roll out. Part of the delay with that effort, announced in 2019, has been making communication work with Solacom, Stieferman said.
Stieferman said the $443,000 price is higher than it would be to extend the contract with Solacom, but not as much as people may expect because the call center’s hardware needs replaced regardless.
A hardware refresh would cost around $120,000, he said, along with software subscription renewals.
“Hardware to hardware is not too far off, and the yearly maintenance is right about the same,” Stieferman said. “So the only thing we’re really spending a little extra money on is buying the new licenses … and with Intrado we’ve built in that once you buy the license, you don’t have to buy it again.”
Officials still need to work out some details before moving forward with the plan. It will need approval from the Jefferson City Council Committee on Public Safety before going to the full City Council.