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Spend a lot or spend nothing on old technology? Not a tough choice for GC legislators

By Joanne Beck


Replacing a video wall at Genesee County’s Emergency Services Dispatch Center could cost upwards of “a quarter-million dollars,” Frank Riccobono says.

Or, there’s the other option of getting rid of the wall altogether and not spending a dime.

County legislators are leaning towards option B.

Riccobono, director of Emergency Communications, reviewed the issue of the video wall — a relic once used at the dispatch center and is now outdated and therefore of no value to emergency services. The wall had been evaluated for its future, if any, use and expense as the dispatch center is being updated.

Sheriff William Sheron, Riccobono and the IT director determined that the existing video wall should be removed and disposed of. The department has an agreement with Activu, located at 301 Round Hill Drive, Rockaway, NJ, to do the work at no charge to the county.

The county attorney reviewed the agreement and recommended that the county enter into the agreement, and the Ways & Means Committee also agreed to the same at a prior meeting.

Human Services members concurred that it is the best course of action, and voted to move it on for a full Legislature vote.

A video wall projects various data onto screens attached to highly visible walls throughout the center. They come in especially handy during events such as what the county just experienced this past Christmas, Riccobono said.

“Thankfully, we don’t get the events all the time, but we do need these (video walls) when they do happen,” he said. “Typically, the calls we get in a week, we took in two days.”

He said that out of thousands of calls the dispatch center took during Winter Storm Elliott,  less than 30 calls were lost when people hung up. Otherwise, dispatchers were able to trace their numbers and track them down.

“I’ve never seen as many people panicked,” Riccobono said. “People were in fear for their lives. Many were woefully unprepared.”

File photo of a county dispatch center video wall, by Howard Owens.

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