Centre County, Pennsylvania

May 25th, 2015

Posted In: Public Safety Radio, Wireless & Broadband

CentreCountyCLIENT: Centre County, Pennsylvania

SERVICES PROVIDED: Relocation of Existing 9-1-1 Center and EOC NG9-1-1 Assessment and CPE Procurement Services Radio System Procurement

CHALLENGES: Centre County retained Mission Critical Partners, Inc. (MCP) to design and manage the procurement and implementation of a countywide 9-1-1 radio system. As the project proceeded, it became apparent that the proposed system would require an expanded 9-1-1 communications center. The County asked MCP to assist them in defining requirements for the 9-1-1 center via a needs assessment, analysis of a proposed alternative location, identification of an architect experienced in 9-1-1 centers, and project schedule and budget. Given that the current 9-1-1 center was co-located with the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the challenge included providing the same outcome for the EOC.

Centre County officials also determined the need to replace the County’s existing 9-1-1 customer premises equipment (CPE) with a 21st century system that could accept and adapt to emerging Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) technologies. As part of their efforts to strengthen countywide NG9-1-1 readiness, County officials were also considering ways to improve service to the Pennsylvania State University (PSU) campus. At the time, the County’s Department of Emergency 911 Communications served PSU and its 39,000 students with one offpremise workstation that was limited to voice from the County’s telephone network.

SOLUTIONS: MCP designed a four-step approach to help Centre County achieve next generation readiness and better integrate its PSU operations into the countywide system. The comprehensive approach included:

  • An operational and technical needs assessment that examined all aspects of the existing telephony system, including the potential for integration with the PSU Communications Center
  • The development of a competitive CPE Request for Proposal (RFP), based on specific findings from the needs assessment, to support the seamless replacement of the current system
  • An objective evaluation of proposals and vendor submissions, followed by recommendations on the systems, equipment and approaches that would best meet the County’s needs and requirements
  • Technical project management, including vendor training; the development and oversight of test call procedures to ensure proper system operation; and coordinating the connectivity to and integration with other systems, most notably the PSU Communications Center

MCP was selected by the County as an objective, third-party consultant to update the radio system design, negotiate with vendors and work closely with stakeholders to meet solution expectations that aligned with the County’s budget. This multiple step process began with the definition of a strategy for the implementation phase. The following tasks were identified:

  • Tower site visits for audits
  • Updating radio system requirements
  • Preparation of a system scope of work (SOW)
  • Meetings with key stakeholders
  • Management of County-contracted vendors
  • Development of a radio system budget/schedule for phase II
  • Management of integration with PSU Public Safety Dispatch
  • Project management and technical support for implementation
  • Testing and validation

MCP performed services that included system design, preparation of specifications, bidding, assistance with awards, negotiation of contracts, site acquisition, and system build out. MCP supplied direct project support to the County for all facets of the implementation project.

In addition, the Centre County radio system upgrade project required MCP to manage the integration of PSU Public Safety Dispatch into the Centre County 9-1-1 center. Integration of the systems and services included: new trunked radio system consoles, a separate radio cell for university campus coverage and capacity, upgrades to site infrastructure, modifications to standard operating procedures (SOPs), revised fleet map to accept the new capabilities, and training for the upgraded systems.

MCP supplied program-level support to guide the 9-1-1/EOC assessment. The MCP team defined the requirements for a preliminary needs assessment, identified an experienced communications center designer and, in concert with the architect, developed a conceptual design, schedule and budget. In addition, MCP worked with the County to define a new location for the combined 9-1-1 center/EOC for coordination with the radio system project.

The County also asked MCP to define the SOW and fee for a final design, including contract negotiations with the successful architect. MCP will coordinate the ultimate design and relocation of the 9-1-1 center/EOC with the radio system project to maintain the current and newly relocated 9-1-1 center for the eventual cutover of the system.

KEY RESULTS: MCP provided direct support to Centre County to secure the vendor for architecture and engineering services. MCP will coordinate the construction of the new 9-1-1 center/EOC with the countywide radio system project for complete system integration within the County’s budget.

Using MCP’s research and project management processes, valuable information was gathered and used to prepare detailed, relevant, and thoughtful system requirements, SOW, a modified radio design and budget. Users transitioned to the new system in early 2014 after successful coverage testing and validation.

MCP assisted the County in its efforts to update and replace its legacy 9-1-1 CPE with one that includes NG9-1-1 functionalities, and can be fully integrated into the PSU Public Safety Dispatch. Centre County released a comprehensive RFP to the vendor community for an NG9-1-1 automatic number identification/automatic location identification (ANI/ALI) controller system.

Dale Neff
9-1-1 Director

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