The county could employ more medical investigators and boost its 911 and emergency services under department proposals.
Sedgwick County public safety agencies asked for about $2.2 million in additional funding for staff and equipment upgrades during a Tuesday budget hearing.
County Manager Michael Scholes, who will recommend a budget to commissioners, said Monday that it was important to focus resources on priority areas.
“Public safety continues to see increased demand so there may be an increase in funding needed there,” he said.
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Here’s a look at the requests made Tuesday.
Boosts to 911, EMS
One of the biggest upgrades would be a new computer-aided dispatch system, which manages emergency calls and dispatch responses. The current system will be 10 years old next year, said Elora Forshee, the county’s emergency management director.
“We have some huge security flaws with it,” she said. “We have a lot of limitations.”
The current system is running on Windows 7 and an outdated version of Java, according to the request. Emergency Communications is asking for $1 million in 2018 and another $1 million in 2019 for a new system.
The county also maintains a backup 911 call center at the Law Enforcement Training Center. Forshee said they’ll need more equipment when they move the backup site to a larger space at the new center.
“We need to have a backup site to be able to get up, get going (and) get staffed for our citizens to be able to call 911 no matter what’s happening,” Forshee said.
The $190,000 request would come from a 911 equipment reserve fund.
Emergency Medical Services hopes to replace 40 “ruggedized” mobile tablets that paramedics use to document cases. That would cost about $160,000.
EMS director Scott Hadley said the tablets are increasingly failing as they approach the end of their warranty.
“These are used in extreme cold, hot conditions … raining conditions,” Hadley said. “They’re in a very rugged environment.”
An additional $50,000 is needed to cover higher drug and medical supply costs. And utilities for a new EMS post in northeast Sedgwick County would cost about $12,200.
To generate $24,395 in revenue, EMS could start charging higher fees for crews to be on standby for special events.
Part-time medical investigators
Regional Forensic Science Center director Tim Rohrig said he was seeing more instances where medical investigators are on their shift for more than 24 hours.
“So they can be up for 30 hours and have to drive to a death scene to do their investigation,” he said.
Three part-time positions would cost up to $81,351. The office would use the part-time workers only to fill the gap when full-time investigators are on vacation or on sick leave.
Rohrig said some nurses at hospitals would be interested in doing some “part-time type of work for us.”
▪ The corrections department wants $250,000 for a new software package.
▪ The Office of the Medical Director wants $235,734 to add two positions to its staff that currently fall under EMS.
▪ The joint building and construction department wants $149,873 to add an elevator inspector and a codes specialist.
▪ Emergency management wants $104,978 to upgrade the county’s Emergency Operations Center and its software.