911 Commission holds first meeting in NATCOM center

There were several guests at the first 911 Commission meeting at the new NATCOM center. Commissioners seated at the round table are, from left, John Wynn, John Nicholas, Rick Nowlin and Victor Jones. Seated at the central table are Director Willis Carter and secretary Bernice Wallace.

By Juanice Gray, jgray@natchitochestimes.com

The 911 Commission met for the first time in their new NATCOM (Natchitoches Communications) center in the Industrial Park.

Classes were underway in the dispatch room during the tour. The room meets safety guidelines to withstand a tornado, flood or other natural disaster. Rubber flooring and special windows provide noise reduction. The eight dispatch consoles are ordered and will be installed in this room. At left are offices for NPSO and NPD dispatch supervisors. Two additional rooms are provided for Fire and EMS for future use. Photos by Juanice Gray

Director Willis Carter said the 911 phone systems were delivered and are partially installed and they are in the final stages of purchasing the voice log recorders. His office relocated to the NATCOM center Feb. 6.

Members discussed communications systems that would best serve them. Logistics such as dead zones in areas of the parish and the ability to bring in towers quickly following a catastrophic event were considered.

Willis Carter and Rebecca Jones look over the dispatch room

A contract for IT services was approved. “We don’t have enough IT work to have a full time person,” Carter said. The contract for two years at $790 per month flat rate was accepted. Hourly rates are not billed and all IT services in the building are included. Individual computers and units are exempted.

LaQuita Collins shows how badges are required to gain access to many of the rooms within the facility that includes breakrooms, conference and meeting rooms and offices.

Commissioner Rick Nowlin caught a phrase in the contract concerning termination of services that needed to be amended. The proposal was accepted pending the requested change in verbage.

The purchasing of eight workstations and chairs was approved. Once installed the dispatchers can begin their transfer into the new facility. Architect George Minturn stated the final items on the punch list were being completed.

Following the meeting, guests and commissioners took a tour of the facility.

Director Willis Carter provides a tour to Rebecca Jones. He explains the soundproofing for the dispatch room. Windows were utilized so tours could be provided to schoolchildren and other groups in the future without disturbing dispatchers. They also create an “open” feeling.
Rebecca Jones, standing, provides the financial report to the 911 Commission. Seated from left are Director Willis Carter, secretary Bernice Wallace and commissioners Victor Jones, Rick Nowlin, Jack McCain, Larry Atteridge, Micky Dove, Mary Jones, John Nicholas and John Wynn.