UP - UP and AWAY To Infinity And Beyond - 911Rickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Jul 17 2012 11:34 PM
DOTHAN – HOUSTON COUNTY: This is not a subject that I write many articles about because I sit on the Advisory Committee of the Dothan – Houston County 911 Advisory Committee. My seat is an appointment made by the Volunteer Rescue Units across Houston County.
To set the stage for this article I will explain the make up of the Advisory Committee and the 911 Board. The advisory committee is Chaired by Dothan – Houston County EMA Director Clark Matthews and members are Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes, Dothan Police Chief Greg Benton, Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams, Cowarts Fire Chief/President of Houston County Volunteer Firefighters Association Roger Nall, Dothan Information Technology Director Tim Stewart, Dothan City Engineer Jerry Corbin, Pilcher’s Ambulance Service Owner Joey Pilcher and myself – Rickey Stokes.
The actual 911 Board members are – Chairman Mike Schmitz, all members of the Dothan City Commission and Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver and Houston County Jackie Battles.
This past Wednesday the 911 Advisory Board spent from 10 AM until after 3 PM conducting interviews of four people which submitted applications for the contract Coordinator position. The committee had four great choices. After the interviews the decision was a very tough one. Each person interviewed brought unique qualities to the table.
In the end the Advisory Committee made a unanimous choice to recommend Donald Steve Collins for the contract position of 911 Coordinator for Dothan – Houston County.
This morning the 911 Board ( Mayor, County Commission Chairman, County Commissioner and all members of Dothan Commission ) agreed with the recommendation of the Advisory Committee and awarded the Coordinator Contract to Donald Steve Collins.
Mr. Collins is a retired Fire Chief from Ft. Rucker Fire Department. He is a resident of Dothan Alabama. He brings a vast amount of experience to the table. Mr. Collins was not looking for a job for the money. He had competed all he wanted to do in retirement and wanted to get back into the field of emergency service.
In my opinion the most important ingredient of emergency service is communications. When a person dials 9-1-1-, they want the most experienced person on the other en d of the line who knows that they are doing, and saves lives and property. The Communications/911 system is the vital link between the public and emergency services. It is the efforts of the 911 people that save lives of citizens, officers, fire and medical persons.
The 911 center is the heartbeat to emergency services throughout Dothan – Houston County or any other community.
What the 911 Advisory Committee and 911 Board wanted was someone to see where we are today. Look at where we need to be, chart a path to get there, then lead us to that point.
The man of the hour is Donald Steve Collins. He goes by Steve Collins.
A contract rather than employment for a Coordinator was decided upon. The reason was a contract position did not allow a long term person to get into this position. It is a very real possibility that Mr. Collins could very well write himself out a contract job if he completes the tasks he is charged with.
What is the future of 911?
We know there are state mandates coming. We know there are changes on the horizon in 911. The reason we know is the Alabama Legislature passed legislation this past session which mandate certain changes.
There are a lot of decisions to be made in the future. These decisions will be all of us making some changes in the way we think and operate. Each of us on the 911 Advisory Committee are very passionate about our ideas of what we think is needed.
Each of us represent a different field of expertise. Each one of use have one goal, to protect and serve all citizens, guests and emergency responders.
With that said, I for one look forward to the tenure of Mr. Collins. I look forward to where we can be in 12 – 24 and 36 months. I look forward to everyone in the southeast United States having to come to Dothan to see how we do it. Not Dothan going to other areas to see how they do it. That Dothan – Houston County 911 is the leader of the state and the Southeastern United States.
I listen to the police- fire -sheriff and other agencies on the radios more than most people. Each night three radio talk all night long as I sleep. Most every night I am woke up with something that is going on.
If you have read this web site long, you know that I am passionate about emergency service and the services provided by Police-Fire-Sheriff-Rescue-State Troopers. I am passionate and know the communications is the most important vital link to all involved – the complaintant/the emergency service responders/and all involved. Without good and proper 911 services people die.
I have my ideas of the future. However I have no agenda. My goal is for Steve Collins to make recommendations based on extensive research of where we are and where we need to be. My ideas can be changed because I am open minded and want only what is best for the people we serve.
Thanks to Houston County Volunteer Rescue
The Houston County Volunteer Rescue appointed me as their representative to the Board. I thank them for the opportunity to volunteer my time is service.
I love emergency services and the people involved. I am not good enough to work in the field as full time employment, but I would give my life standing next to them in their protection and service. They – police/fire/sheriff/rescue/troopers are the heroes in my mind. They are always ready to handle the next emergency to save people.
Thanks to those who had enough confidence in appointing me to the volunteer 911 committee. I think we have, as a team, made progress. In the future that progress will continue.
Thanks to Chris Etheredge
Thanks to then Dothan Fire Captain Chris Etheredge – now Batallion Chief Chris Etheredge for his work and dedication to 911. He gave up a lot of time in addition to his regular duties for almost two years to lead 911 to where we are today.
Chris…thank you for your work and development of 911. Thanks to Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams for allowing Chris to work.
Chris has done a fantastic job in his leadership during the almost 2 years he has served as Interim 911 Coordinator for free.
And in conclusion, thanks to Larry McKee, John Taylor, Albert Kirkland and Critt Snellgrove.