The project was initially pushed back so that all emergency service agencies could equip themselves with the new radios needed to partner with the system.
The radios are not as much of an issue at this time, because most all emergency services have at least one or two of the new radios and there are grants pending to purchase more.
According to Logan County sheriff Wallace Whittaker, who is overseeing the project, the problem now is the tower on top of Armstrong Street that was to be used to hold the new digital equipment.
“It’s not big enough,” said Whittaker to the fiscal court at a meeting last week.
The county had gotten permission to use Pennyrile Electric’s tower to place the equipment; however, after an engineer from Kenwood – the radio system’s manufacturer – inspected the tower, they found it would not work.
The county’s current radio system is 11 years old and is overloaded and outdated, causing communication problems between emergency services (fire departments and law enforcement) and the county’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC/911).
According to some emergency service workers, there are times they cannot get through to dispatch or even each other, and there is fear the problem could result in someone getting seriously injured or even killed. This is why the county approved to purchase a new digital system costing over a half a million dollars in October of 2009.
“We are waiting on another engineering report to see what needs to be done,” said Whittaker. “We will probably need to purchase our own tower,” added Whittaker.
A new tower would cost approximately $9,000, and that does not include setting the guide wires or putting it up.
There are currently six to seven towers located on Armstrong Street. At least two are not in use but may not be of any use to the county because of size.
“The Pennyrile tower is the largest tower up there,” said Whittaker, who is more than ready himself to activate the system.