The Simplex system, which acts as a booster for digital radio frequency, has now been installed in the cities of Auburn and Lewisburg and sheriff Wallace Whittaker says he thinks it will help.
When the county fired up it’s $600,000 plus digital radio system several weeks ago, they didn’t anticipate the problems that surfaced once the system was up and running. Dead spots where the radios wouldn’t work was one issue, along with failure to work inside concrete and brick structures another. Fire departments in Lewisburg and Auburn were experiencing the most problems.
The digital system was purchased by the county a few years ago because the old one was not working properly and it was seen as a safety hazard for all emergency service agencies that talk back and forth with one another and dispatch.
This is but a long list of problems the new system and its installation has experienced. It took a few years after the county agreed to purchase the new system to even get all the equipment needed and installed. There were problems with the vendor, putting up a tower and now frequency issues.
Sheriff Whittaker, who was put in charge of the system’s upgrade, believes the Simplex will take care of the frequency issues that have been occurring. Low wattage radios are some of the problems, said the sheriff. When the Simplex was installed about a week ago, there were still issues, but those have been addressed, said the sheriff.
“I spoke to Auburn Mayor Dewey Roche and he said it seems to be working now,” said Whittaker, who is awaiting to hear from Lewisburg to see if they are up and running properly.
Kenwood is the vendor who sold the county the digital system. Whittaker said he has learned the initial problems when Simplex was installed to help was due to a programming issue. Whittaker said a representative from Palco, a contractor used by Kenwood, came down and reprogrammed the system.
“If Lewisburg still has trouble, we can bring Palco back,” said Whittaker. “We are going to keep working on this until it is fixed.”
According to Whittaker, neither the sheriff’s department, the Russellville Police Department, nor the city of Adairville’s emergency agencies are having difficulty at this time.
Whittaker says he is not sure at this time how much additional cost the Simplex will be to the county.