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911 Board Elects Chairman and Treasurer for Fiscal Year 2018 - 2019

Rickey Stokes

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Posted by: RStokes
Date: Sep 11 2018 3:40 PM

DOTHAN - HOUSTON COUNTY:   The City of Dothan - Houston County Communications District Board ( 911 ) met today for their regular meeting.


The board is made up of nine people. Mandatory appointments to the board are; Dothan Police Chief, Dothan Fire Chief, Houston County Sheriff, Houston County Volunteer Fire President or their representative, four appointments by the Dothan City Commission and one appointment by the Houston County Commission.


These consist of: Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish, Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams, Houston County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jeff Carlisle, Houston County Fire Association Representative Ashford Fire Chief Jimmy Posey, Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Director Chris Judah, Dothan General Services Director Randy Morris, Dothan Businessman Jason Rudd, Pilcher Ambulance Joey Pilcher, and Dothan - Houston County Emergency Management Rickey Stokes.


Former Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz and Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver along with their commissioners had served as the 911 Board. It was Mayor Schmitz and Chairman Culver that pushed to change the 911 board from the elected officials to the current board. 

State Representative Paul Lee drafted the legislation. Representative Lee said since the majority of the money that went into 911 came from within the City Limits of Dothan that the City of Dothan needed the majority of appointments. Stokes argued with Representative Lee that law enforcement and fire needed mandatory seating on the 911 board. Because when you dial 911 the citizens expect law enforcement, fire of EMS to respond. Thus the makeup of the board.

The City of Dothan only has 11% of the land in Houston County but they have 65% of the population.

What some do not get is that you have to drive in the county when leaving Dothan. Emergency situations do not pick the time, place or victims.

And some of those arguing that Dothan should control - well when they go to the beach and a semi crashes into them in Madrid and traps them in the car, well they expect the same level of service. So while Dothan is the king of the money emergencies do not select victims or locations.

The new board make up is just entering it's fourth year. Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams served the first two years as Chairman of the Board while Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish served as Treasurer.


This past year Rickey Stokes served as Chairman and Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish served as Treasurer.

Today was election time for Chairman and Treasurer. Stokes announced before the agenda item that he was not in the running for Chairman. Stokes cited that his plate has become way to full and he has to eliminate some things. With that said Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish was nominated and elected as Board Chairman and Dothan Fire Chief Larry Wiliams was nominated and elected as Treasurer.

Since 1993 Tonya Shelley, Financial Administrator of Dothan Police Department, has served as the financial manager for the 911 Board. It is because of Tonya's wise stewardship that the 911 board is in good financial condition. With today's election and marking the Police Chief as Chairman, the financial management will move from Shelley into the hands of Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams. Mrs. Shelley will no longer handle the financial management after the transition time.

Other routine items were handled during today's meeting. 

The board and members of the 911 team members ( Houston County Sheriff 911 staff and Dothan Police 911 staff ) heard a presentation from Lee Moore, 911 consultant. Moore explained changes on the horizon over the next 90 days in technology and the way calls are routed.

Currently cell phones hit on the cell tower and are routed to the nearest 911 center. Within 90 days those calls will route based on the last latitude and longitude the phone carrier showed the phone was at. That should be better in the 911 staff knowing the emergency location and the phones hitting the correct entity to respond.

Moore also explained the 911 call rings for 18 seconds before it is automatically routed to another 911 Center. That is about three rings. Dothan Police Department 911 and Houston County Sheriff 911 serve as backup to each other on 911 calls. While they are located in the same building a wall is between the two entities. 

And when a wreck occurs, today with everyone having a cell phone, the 911 Centers get hammered on calls. The staff in both communications centers are the heart beat of emergency services and make the connections between the public and emergency response needed. They are perhaps the most important part of the emergency service wheel but probably one of the most unnoticed parts of the wheel.

THANKS to the members of the 911 board for letting me ( Rickey Stokes ) serve as Chairman of the Board. It was a pleasure. I remain a member of the board and am just beginning the last of my four year appointment.

Holly, Pam and Greg are the full time 911 staff. They keep the facilities and data running while the 911 operators of the Dothan Police Department and Houston County Sheriff Department keep the emergency services going.

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