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HUNTINGDON (November 29) — Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters on the county’s rural fire brigades cannot communication with each other or with dispatchers in the Westport and …
HUNTINGDON (November 29) — Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters on the county’s rural fire brigades cannot communication with each other or with dispatchers in the Westport and Lavinia areas. That’s because none of the county’s five elevated antenna sites can reach the most southern portion of the county.
In a joint meeting of the Law Enforcement and Rural Fire committees on Thursday, the members, all county commissioners, learned the county’s deputies and firefighters have no radio communications with the dispatchers or each other in Lavinia and Westport areas. The county installed an entirely new digital radio system in all the county’s patrol cars and fire apparatus, plus each deputy was issued a handheld two-way radio as part of a $500,000 upgrade from the old analog systems. B&E originally recommended an $800,000 upgrade, however, the budget was only $500,000 over a multi-year period. Municipal law enforcement and fire departments were also included in the new equipment roll out. Carroll County Emergency Communications (911 Board) paid for the lions’ share of the equipment and installation.
B&E Electronics of Jackson installed the equipment and included five antenna sites throughout the county. Those included: Cedar Grove, Bruceton, Huntingdon, Trezevant and Hico, just outside of McKenzie. The original plan called for an antenna on the Charter communications tower between Huntingdon and Clarksburg. That tower site was taller and more effective than the shorter tower sites throughout the county. Charter, who offered the site for free, plans to eliminate that tower site and forced the county to find another site, which was a less effective location at the county jail in Huntingdon. Elimination of the Charter site also caused less effective communications in the Clarksburg, Westport, and Lavinia areas.
The committees were apprised of the need of the additional antenna at Westport at an estimated cost of $114,000, including the necessary broadcast equipment.
On B&E’s website, beelectronics.com, the company has a video with Carroll County officials complimenting the service of the new digital radios.