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Building A Better Future

Find information about Porter County Government's major projects and initiatives to help build a better future for our citizens. 

Jun 10

911 Moving To A New State Of The Art Dispatch Center

Posted on June 10, 2021 at 3:50 PM by Curt Ellis

Over the next 30 days, Porter County Central Communications (911) will be transitioning their department from their current location at the Porter County Sheriff’s building to a new state of the art dispatch center located at 157 Franklin Street in downtown Valparaiso. During this period, we will be testing and retesting equipment at the new location, making sure that the numerous and necessary redundancies are in place. When all testing is completed, we will split the dispatching staff and run operations out of both centers for a period of time to assure that no calls are missed.

Here is more information about the improvements and investments Porter County Government has made to serve our first responders and citizens. All of this was achieved while keeping your county property tax rate flat!

Basic Facts

  • 911 Primary Answering point for all calls in Porter County
  • Dispatches all Porter County Fire/EMS/Rescue, and eight of the ten Police agencies

New Systems 
These new systems were purchased by Porter County government to improve the current 911 technologies and provided better services to the residents and first responders:

  • Radio- Motorola 7500 p-25 Digital system-Provides better coverage for all field units improving better interoperability between all agencies
  • 911 Phones- Motorola CallWorks system that can be integrated with Radio and Computer Aided Dispatch System
  • Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)-Migrating to Premier One by the end of 2021

Benefits of new center

  • Centrally located within Porter County which will allow for better access of Porter County police and fire departments to Porter County Central Communications.
  • Strong building structure that can withstand high winds and severe weather.
  • Building layout allows for Dispatch to have a dedicated area separate from Administration.
  • New state of the art HVAC system to provide exact cooling and heating needed for servers and 911 technologies.
  • Ten dispatch positions from Xybix Furniture which are ergonomic for the dispatcher and have been proven to improve dispatcher efficiency.
  • New dispatch positions also have a dedicated cable management system that improves upon the older out-of-warranty positions.
  • Dedicated Fiber line for improved reliability and increased data capacity. This allows for needed for newer technologies and future developments for Porter County.
  • New IT server room allows for a better managed cabling system.
  • Newer technologies utilized through fiber and Ethernet will allow Porter County to discontinue additional costs of older circuits and copper lines.
  • Capability to add advanced technologies to the new center such as access to current video feeds throughout Porter County.
  • Training room for 911, to be used for hosting local and regional training to improve services.
  • Purchase of the Premier One Computer Aided Dispatch system was required as the current. Tiburon Computer Aided Dispatch is at its “End of Life” and no longer supported by the vendor.
New systems are Next Generation 911 compliant. Integrating all systems and connectivity through Porter County’s purchases of these systems will allow dispatchers to provide better. services to the public and responders. Each system will provide advanced capabilities that were previously unavailable in prior systems. 

Photo Of New Dispatch Position:
Photo of New Dispatch Position At 911 Center

Photo of New Training Room:
Photo of New Training Room At 911 Center
Jun 08

Porter County Government Is Building Bridges!

Posted on June 8, 2021 at 2:02 PM by Curt Ellis

Porter County Government Advances Bridge Improvements With $15.5 Million In Grant Funding.

Over the past few years, most people have been aware of the $30 million invested in county owned buildings without a tax increase, and a $20 million investment in stormwater infrastructure improvements.  What has not received much attention is the County’s focus on the 132 bridges it is responsible for maintaining.

“Our citizens may not be aware that these 132 bridges are not just in unincorporated areas of the county,” said Commissioner Jim Biggs. “Many of them are along major thoroughfares in our cities and towns.” 

In 2017, a Highway Engineering team was established in the Department of Development & Storm Water, and a professional engineer and project manager were hired to develop and implement a new bridge asset management strategy. Based on the bridge rating study required by the Federal Highway Administration, it was clear that the county bridge infrastructure was deficient. The Commissioners began to allocate more money to its bridge fund while continuing to keep the county property tax rate flat. 

“We’ve approached the bridge problem the same way we have approached other major issues,” said Commissioner Laura Blaney. “We identified a need, hired top-notch professionals to address the need, developed a plan and found the funding.” 

In 2018, the county spent $625 thousand to provide preventative maintenance on 32 county bridges. In 2019, using $2.75 million of the $30 million of the capital upgrade plan, the three worst bridges were reconstructed. An additional $800 thousand was spent rehabilitating two major bridges in 2019. 

At the June 8
th Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Development & Storm Water Director Bob Thompson provided the Commissioners with a bridge progress update. As part of the update, Thompson also announced that $15.5 million in grant funding has been secured to rehabilitate or reconstruct 17 bridges in years 2021 through 2025. Eleven of those bridges are included on the list of the top 15 bridges in Porter County that require replacement. 

“Securing $15.5 million in grant funding to improve our bridges is historic,” said Commissioner Jeff Good. “Due to the efforts of Bob and his team, we are now able to dramatically improve our bridge infrastructure.”

Here is a drone photo of the current reconstruction of Bridge #62 which is County Road 625 West over the Kankakee River. This bridge ranks as the number one bridge on the list of county bridges that require replacement.

Photo of replacement of Bridge 62  Which Is County Road 625 West Over Kankakee River

You can view the slide show presentation below:

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 1

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 2

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 3

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 4

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 5

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 6

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 7

June 8 Bridge Update Slide Show Page 8