911 equipment contract on Oct. 15 commission agenda

City Commissioners will consider approving a $301,004.41 contract during their Oct. 15 meeting with Central Square/Zuercher Technologies for the replacement of call processing equipment at the Great Falls Emergency Communication 911 Dispatch Center.

The current equipment, Positron VIPER, was approaching its replacement date at the city’s dispatch center and city staff released a request for proposals to explore replacements and compare vendors.

Based on the evaluation of bids, staff determined the Central Square/Zuercher proposal best fit the city’s needs, according to the staff report. Central Square/Zuercher was also the low bidder.

“Central Square 911 Pro call taking software was clearly the best choice primarily for its ability to integrate with our existing Zuercher Suite computer aided dispatch (CAD) software. Central Square was the only vendor capable of this integration since their merger with several companies in 2018 including Zuercher,” according to the staff report.

An example of the integration, according to the staff report, is that when a 911 call is received, the Central Square system interacts with the city’s existing CAD and records management systems to determine if the incoming phone number has called before. If it has, the system can pull information from previous calls to assist first responders assigned to the call.

With our current system, once the call is entered, dispatchers have to search the system for information on who lives at an address and any concerns associated with the call or address, according to the staff report.

“With Central Square that information is automatically searched and available to the dispatcher which will ultimately saves time and possibly lives,” according to the staff report.

City staff have also indicated the company has good customer service and technical support based on their experience with the company’s other software currently in use by the city. Staff also reached out to other agencies using the call processing equipment and heard positive feedback, according to the staff report.

The contract, if approved, includes a five-year maintenance plan, and the total cost is $301,004.41.

The majority of the cost is being funded by the 911 Grant Program award the city received in May for $246,967 and approved by commissioners in August.

That funding will allow the city to pay for the first year of implementation as well as about two years of support and maintenance, according to the staff report. The remainder of the cost is an allotted expense in the city’s budget for the dispatch center.

The other companies that submitted bids were Motorola for $361,391 and Century Link for $375,330 but neither of the companies included many of the items requested in the request for proposals, according to the staff report.