In November of last year, city grant writer Kay Simmons secured a $51,000 grant to purchase new mobile and portable digital radios for some of the fire departments and law enforcement agencies in Logan County. However, it wasn’t enough to buy all the necessary radios. Simmons said she was contacted by Homeland Security and asked how much more it would take to outfit everyone who was lacking.
“I was so excited to get that call. I couldn’t believe we were going to get more money to outfit those who need radios. It was a dream come true,” said Simmons, who took this grant very personally having a daughter who serves on a rural fire department, as well as search and rescue with her son-in-law.
“I care very deeply for these men and women who risk their lives every day, and I wanted them to have the necessary equipment to keep them safe, as well as the citizens they are protecting.”
With the county’s new digital radio system purchased last year, some emergency agencies were scrambling on how they would get the funds to buy radios that would be compatible with the new system. The Logan County Sheriff’s Department had already secured their radios with the system’s purchase, but smaller agencies were on their own to acquire grants to get their radios. The older radios will not work on the new system.
The new system will be activated as soon as the equipment is placed on the Pennyrile tower on Reservoir Hill in Russellville, and a new outbuilding purchased to house the equipment on the ground.
Simmons, who took action immediately after hearing of the deficit, said this was one of the most important grants she has written.
“We do have a lot of people who are wanting these radios, and we are trying to hand them out appropriately where everyone has them,” said Simmons. Captain Victor Shifflet of the Russellville Police Department is helping Simmons.
“This last batch of money will take care of the agencies out there who need new radios. We have to sign the contract between us and Homeland Security and then wait for their word to purchase the radios,” said Simmons.
Simmons wants all the fire departments and law enforcement agencies to keep up with the vin number of the vehicles the mobile radios will go in, along with the model number of each radio. She also needs documentation of each portable and which officer it gets assigned to. All this needs to be supplied to Homeland Security.
“Only emergency services can have these radios, and if someone leaves the service, the radio will be retired due to confidentiality,” said Simmons.
Simmons tells all agencies that receive a radio to wait until they hear from the sheriff’s department that the system is up and running, and then contact Kenwood/Palco to have each unit programmed.
“There has been talk of having a mass programming, so organization is in the works, but will not occur until new system is up and running,” said Simmons.