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USDA Funded Shelby County 911 Equipment Project

By Marlana Smith


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded Shelby County 911 equipment project. Shelby County 911 received a grant in the amount of $27,400 and a loan for $148,200.

According to Shelby County 911 Director Mary Lu McConnell the 911 dispatch office was in need of new equipment because their equipment was 10 years old, outdated/obsolete.

“We could no longer get repair parts and vendors did not support maintenance on 911 software. We had continual repair costs,” said McConnell.

On Wednesday, August 8, USDA Area Specialist LouAnn Rongey presented the Shelby County Economic Development a plaque since they were the ones who agreed to be the applicant on the project. The Shelby County Commissioners also were presented a plaque by Rongey, because they contacted Rongey about doing a project for the new 911 system.

According to Rongey USDA cannot do a loan to a county or a city as they cannot pledge security, so that is where the Shelby County Economic Development Board, Inc. came in since they are not-for-profit organization.

“We cannot do a loan to a county or a city as they cannot pledge security – in other words we could not take the equipment as security.

“Shelby County Economic Development Board, Inc. is a not-for-profit.  We can do a loan and grant with not-for-profits as they can pledge the equipment as security.  Then they lease the equipment to the county or city.

“A lot of times, the city or county will form a not-for-profit spinoff with an interlocking board. In this case Economic Development has close ties to the county so they agreed to be the applicant on the project,” said Rongey.

Shelby County 911 purchased a 911 Call Taking Phone System and Radio Work Stations, 2- Dispatch Positions – IP Base.

McConnell said the insulation started in November, 2017, and the final completion of the project was in early August, 2018.

McConnell said the new equipment is internet based making repairs and equipment trouble-shooting less costly and more efficient since it can be conducted remotely with the vendor.

“Next Generation 911 equipment can support multi-media interactions such as text messaging, images and videos. Texting to 911 will be a capability in the near future for our residents.

“The equipment helps coordinate data for more effectiveness in call routing and handling to aid in incident responses. It supports open radio standards allowing integration of any device (radios), consoles, recorders, etc. into the new system.

“All the features are cost savings to the county, to benefit our citizens and incur fewer inconsistencies for the dispatchers in emergency communications,” said McConnell.