The Red River Parish Communications District was established on Thursday September 14, 2006 by the Red River Parish Police Jury. The Police Jury passed Ordinance 05-2006 which formally established the Red River Parish Communications District as an local governing entity. The Jury also appointed seven commissioners to serve as the governing body of the District. Those seven commissioners were Mr. Lem Jones, Mrs. Cindy Coffey, Mr. Warren Perkins, Mr. Buddy Fowler, Mr. John Youngblood, Sheriff Johnny Norman, and Police Juror Ben Taylor.
The Commissioners held their first special meeting on Friday September 15, 2006 in McLemore Hall (First United Methodist Church). At this meeting, the Commissioners passed a resolution to place the emergency telephone surcharge proposition on the ballot for the upcoming November 7, 2006 election. The Commission elected officers which included Lem Jones as Chairman, Buddy Fowler as Vice-Chairman, and Cindy Coffey as Secretary/Treasurer. The Commission also appointed Daniel Simpson and Scotty Warren to serve as volunteer Advisors to the District.
The Commission held numerous public information sessions in order to educate the citizens of Red River Parish on the importance of an E911 system. The efforts proved to be a huge success as nearly 92% of the citizens voted for the Emergency Telephone Surcharge Proposition on November 7, 2006. The Commission received its first surcharge collection income in January 2007, and plans for E911 Implementation were fully underway.
The Commission hired Scotty Warren as the E911 Administrator for Red River Parish and appointed Daniel Simpson as E911 Coordinator/Project Manager. Sheriff Johnny Norman donated an office for the Administrator which was located in the Red River Parish Detective’s Office (near Lock and Dam #4). E911 Administrator Scotty Warren and E911 Coordinator Daniel Simpson traveled to the state capital in Baton Rouge to meet with Representative Taylor Townsend, Speaker Joe Salter, and Senator Robert Adley regarding funding for Red River Parish’s 911 Center. This meeting proved to be extremely successful as the legislature approved $275,000 in HB 1 for startup costs related to Red River Parish’s E911 system. This funding enabled the E911 project to move into full action.
Warren and Simpson immediately began traveling around the state meeting with 911 Administrators from Caddo, Bossier, Bienville, LaSalle, and East Baton Rouge Parishes in order to determine what equipment and technology infrastructure needs would be required for the implementation of E911 in Red River Parish. The Commissioners sent Coordinator Simpson to attend the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International conference in Baltimore, Maryland. At this conference, Simpson was able to select the technology software platform, console, and equipment best suited for Red River Parish’s E911 system.
Mr. Buddy Fowler resigned from the Communications District in June 2007. The Police Jury replaced Mr. Fowler with Mrs. Lauri Lowring. Mrs. Lowring was elected Vice Chair of the Commission at the July 2007 meeting. Warren and Simpson continued writing grants and acquiring additional funding needed for renovations, infrastructure upgrades, addressing equipment, and software. CHRISTUS hospital provided the Communications District with a grant on September 24, 2007 in the amount of $30,000 for implementation costs. This grant was made possible with the help of CHRISTUS Coushatta Hospital Administrator Karen Mixon and Ms. Shannon Cox.
In late 2007, Simpson and Warren finalized plans and the Communications District hired Weaver Independant Contractors to complete major renovations to the existing dispatch room located in the Red River Parish Jail. While these renovations were underway, the Dispatch Center was relocated to the field deputy’s room in the Sheriff’s Administrative Office. Emergency calls were handled in this temporary office for nearly four months as renovations took place.
The renovation project included structural alterations needed to expand the area of the existing dispatch room so the new E911 servers and equipment could be installed. Other renovations/upgrades included a new office telephone/communications system, re-wiring for advanced computer networks, new dispatch console/chairs, new AC/Heating units, new surveillance system, new radio equipment, new computers, new television monitors, and an overall new look!
In early 2008, the Dispatch Center was relocated to the brand new E911 Emergency Operations Center. Mr. Warren Perkins resigned from the Communications District in early 2008, and the Police Jury replaced Mr. Perkins with Fire District Chief Shane Felts. Throughout 2008, Administrator Warren worked on the addressing conversion project in effort to convert over 4000 rural route addresses to the new standardized E911 addresses needed for the system to function. This effort required coordination with the United States Postal Service, AT&T, Intrado, and many other utility companies.
In May 2008, Scott Warren resigned as E911 Administrator of the Communications District along with Commissioner Lauri Lowring. Mr. Scott Phillips was selected to serve as the new E911 Administrator and Police Juror Jessie Davis was elected Vice Chairman. The Police Jury replaced Mrs. Lowring with Mr. Edgar Gaddis. Administrator Phillips and Simpson continued the addressing project as well as the creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Red River Parish using ESRI’s ArcMap software.This data would enable the new E911 system to have advanced mapping capabilities along with the ability to track the location of wireless cellular calls – Phase II technology.
Commissioners and Volunteers throughout the community joined forces going door-to-door collecting data for the address conversion project. Meanwhile, AT&T began the installation of the E911 servers, networks, and infrastructure necessary for the implementation of the new Positron Viper system.
Mr. Scott Phillips resigned as E911 Administrator in 2009, and the Commissioners hired Mrs. Jennifer Mahfouz to fill the position.
Check back soon for more updates!
The first phase of Red River Parish’s Enhanced 9-1-1 system was installed on August 11-14, 2008. The Communications District purchased the new state-of-the-art Positron Viper system to handle its emergency communication and E9-1-1 calls. This first phase of the system implementation was limited with features as the Re-Addressing effort was still underway. In order to fully activate Enhanced 9-1-1, the District had to complete over 80% of the address changes throughout the parish. With the first phase, Dispatchers begain taking emergency calls from the computerized digital telephone system known as “VIPER Power 9-1-1”.
All Dispatchers were employees of the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Department, and the Communications District sponsored all E9-1-1 training efforts. Sheriff Norman sent all of his Dispatchers to Bossier Parish’s E9-1-1 Center, who also utilized the Positron Viper platform, to receive training and the APCO Telecommunicator I certification course. Positron also provided an onsite trainer to train dispatchers on the the new equipment and software platform.
Once the Re-Addressing effort had been completed, the Red River Parish E9-1-1 Emergency Operations Center was ready to fully go live. AT&T and Positron specialists returned to the facility to make the necessary software/inrastructure upgrades needed to activate our E911 Trunk lines.
On Thursday June 18, 2009 around 10:00 AM, the Red River Parish Enhanced 9-1-1 Emergency Operations Center went live. The first 9-1-1 emergency call came in shortly after in which a wireless caller reported a horse out near Hall Summit. The wireless caller’s location appeared instantly on the map, and deputies were dispatched –
The E9-1-1 implementation Project was a success!
The overall implementation included many features aimed at improving emergency communication, record/data management, response times, and overall operations. The Communications District installed a second console position which enabled Sheriff Norman to hire an additional part-time dispatcher during high call volumes. Four (4) additional telephone lines in addition to the three (3) new 911 Trunk lines were installed to ensure the availability of lines for emergency callers. Also, new radio technology has been implemented to provide better dispatching services for the emergency responders.
The Communications District is constantly monitoring trends in new technology to ensure Red River Parish’s citizens and visitors has easy access to emergency resources. Since its implementation, thousands of 9-1-1 calls have come through and emergency personnel