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EMS secures grant to pay for Everbridge

After nearly a couple months of debate, the county has received a grant to cover at least a portion of its mass notification alert system. The cost of Everbridge, which was not renewed by the Harrison County Council back in July, only to receive funding roughly a month later, is now being covered by a grant.
Greg Reas, director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency, said Friday morning at the Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting that the county was awarded a $12,000 state grant to pay for the county’s expenses for the Everbridge service.
‘This is the only security grant that I applied for some time back,’ Reas told the three commissioners, who changed their meeting from the third Monday night to Friday morning so they could attend the annual Association of Indiana Counties conference.
When the county council voted to continue to fund Everbridge, the company tacked on a $1,500 fee to restart the program. However, Detective Lt. Nick Smith, of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., who is part of a committee to help spread the word about Everbridge in order to get more people signed up for it, requested the fee be waived, which Everbridge agreed to do.
Last month, the commissioners decided the Everbridge program would be controlled by Harrison County 911 Dispatch Center going forward.
Commissioner Charlie Crawford said the grant will make several people happy, adding he appreciated Reas pursuing the funding.
‘Seven that I know of,’ said Commissioner Kenny Saulman, referring to the seven-member county council, which will meet for its final September meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.
Reas also updated the commissioners about the repair work to the siren system used to notify residents about weather emergencies in the area.
‘We have made the rounds on all of them,’ Reas said. ‘We should be in good shape on all of them.’
That does not include the siren in New Middletown, which did not sound when a tornado hit the area on Friday, July 20.
‘That’s the one that hasn’t been working all along,’ Crawford said.
The commissioner asked Reas when it would be fixed.
Reas said it’s likely a simple fix, with the transmitter and receiver for a radio needing to swap positions. If that’s the issue, it won’t take long to correct, he said.
(Reas said Tuesday that the siren had been repaired.)
Commissioner Jim Heitkemper questioned Reas about a siren in Elizabeth, which also reportedly wasn’t working.
‘It is working,’ Reas said.
Saulman recommended Reas test it Friday to double check that it was working.
Reas said he still needs to get modems up and running, which will connect to a pair of computers that will run tests on the sirens and notify the EMA office if there are any issues with sirens.
‘Report back to us when you get those done, too, because we’d like to know that,’ Crawford said.
In other county business, Harrison County Clerk Sherry Brown wants a police officer to work security during early voting hours that fall outside of her office’s regular hours.
‘We have early voting two Saturdays that are mandated by the state,’ Brown said. ‘We have to be open at least seven hours the last two Saturdays before every General Election and Primary.’
Along with those hours, Brown said voters can also cast their ballots later in the evening on the last two Thursdays before Election Day on Nov. 6. Voting will be available those days until 6 p.m.
Overall, that’s 17 hours the county needs security to work outside of regular business hours at the courthouse.
While there hasn’t been any incident that raised concerns about security being needed, Brown said the county’s election board is worried, even to a point that Brown now is somewhat anxious about it.
‘One of our absentee board members’ spouses is concerned enough and he has a permit to carry,’ Brown said. ‘He is sitting out in our parking spaces with a loaded gun, watching the courthouse.’
Brown said if the absentee board member notifies the man in the parking lot about an incident, he would be the first to respond.
‘That kind of concerns me,’ Brown said.
The commissioners unanimously approved Brown’s request to be taken to the council, which calls for using an Indiana State Police trooper to monitor early voting.
The commissioner said it may not be needed and recommended Brown talk to Harrison County Sheriff Rodney (Rod) Seelye to see if he has a way to provide security during those four days in the later part of October.