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July 16, 2013

E911 project continues for county

DUNCAN — The Stephens County Commissioners agreed Monday to spend $94,500 to complete mapping for the E911 wireless emergency system, but it could still be close to a year before the long-delayed project is done.

Commissioners agreed to hire Spatial Data Research, Inc. of Lawrence, Kan., to complete mapping for the system, which is used to link emergency calls with appropriate first responders by locating the source of the call.

County E911 Director Mark Suson said the company met all the bid specifications for the finishing the project.  

GeoComm of St. Cloud, Minn., submitted a bid in excess of $270,000, but Suson said earlier that the company did not take into account work that already had been done.

“They basically were operating as if we were starting from scratch,” Suson said.

The county and the City of Duncan had approved a contract with Visual Lease Services of  Holdenville, Okla., initially estimated at $248,000 in May 2011 to map the county for E911.

 The contract had been recommended by the Stephens County Public Safety Communications Authority, a cooperative group between the county and Duncan that has since been disbanded.

Marlow was excluded from the project because that city did its own mapping for an E911 system it operates separately.

Visual Lease began the mapping project in June 2011 but after more than a year, county commissioners and E911 Mark Suson were not satisfied with the results.

Suson said the project involves taking GPS points for all locations in the county and then building a map using correct addresses for 911 calls. New road and street addresses were to be assigned to rural route addresses, since some rural mail boxes can be quite a distance from an actual residence.

Physical addresses are needed for E911.

The county commissioners and Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks have talked privately about what legal action if any should be sought against Visual Lease Services. Bowen said some money had been paid to the company.

Bowen said suing the company was a possibility, but Hicks told them to move forward with the project in the mean time.

A phone message seeking comment from Visual Leases was left at its office on Monday.

Spatial Data Research said in its bid that it was prepared to create a county-wide addressing system with complete E911 data that could be maintained by the county well into the future.

Part of the objective is to use existing data created by the previous vendor.

Spatial Data said an analysis of that existing data showed that critical information, including verified mailing addresses, residents’ names and land-line phones, was missing or suspect and should be verified in the field.

It also said road naming and address ranging had to be validated and corrected, but some points and boundaries already established could be used as a starting point.

The company said it would assign Brian Welde as its project manager to lead the Stephens County effort, and that Welde had led successful projects in Jefferson, Love, Marshall and McCurtain counties.

“We will cover the entire county with accurate GPS data collection and door-to-door resident data collection,” the bid said.

 It said it would verify precise structure and driveway locations, resident names, land-line telephone numbers, mailing addresses (for U.S. Postal Service conversion), existing physical addresses, structure descriptions, contract-specified landmarks and field notes.”

It said it would start the project within a month of the contract signing by holding a series of meetings with all project stakeholders and would submit monthly status reports.

Although the bid was approved Monday, the contract has not been signed and payment arrangments are still to be negotiated.

Telephone customers, both landline and wireless users, pay fees for 911 services.

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