According to Whittaker, the delay was due to Kenwood having to rewire a building owned by Palco that houses the technology that will couple with the county’s system.
“They have told us we will be up in two weeks,” said Whittaker who assumes the vendor filed an extension since by federal guidelines antaloge systems must be replaced by digital Aug. 29, 2011.
The half a million dollar system was purchased by the county in 2009 in preparation for the federal guidelines as well as a possible safety issue that was brought to the court first by the Joint Emergency Communications Board (JECOB) and later by some emergency service workers, who claimed there were times they could not get through to dispatch or each other and were concerned about getting seriously injured or even killed.
A close call in Auburn involving fire chief Jeff Gregory put fiscal court on a fast track to finding a solution to this continuing problem. Gregory got into an alteration with a suspected arsonist who allegedly pulled a gun and fired it twice at Gregory. When the gun failed to fire Gregory ran and tried to contact dispatch on the radio but could not get through.
The county has purchased a new building to house the equipment necessary to run the digital radios, which has been delivered and is waiting. The county will be utilizing Pennyrile Electric’s tower off of Armstrong Street to place some of the equipment on as well.
The radios will be carried by emergency service workers such as law enforcement, fire fighters, ambulance and jail personnel, the coroner and emergency management.
“When Kenwood is finished and the new system is activated there will be a two week testing period on the radios to work out all the bugs,” said Whittaker adding, “Then the system will go live.”