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Jackson County to upgrade emergency radio system

Posted at 7:15 AM, Dec 21, 2016

First responders expect when they try to use their radio, it will go through to dispatch, but on the old radio system, there were parts of Jackson county where it wouldn't always work.

"There's several areas in the county right now that have bad coverage and down in our corner of the county is an area that's typically bad in some areas," explains Columbia Township police chief David Elwell.

That's an issue that will be solved by the new 800-megahertz system.

"It will improve the safety of police and fire fighters and just by extension, I think that takes care of the citizens better," says Elwell.

The new system will be much more reliable for radios.

"It's a 95% guarantee the first click. 100% after that," states Jackson county commissioner Michael Overton excitedly.

He says the upgrade was more than a year in the making. That's because the board of commissioners wanted to make sure the county was ready for the change.

Overton says "when you're going to spend, you know, $7.3 million, you need to take your time and really look at it closely. While we already knew the technology was valid and sound, the state's been using it for years, we wanted to make sure that our fire people, that they aren't used to that 800 serice, make sure that they were agreeable and that they felt comfortable with the new technology."

Though it did take a long time, first responders are pleased with the newer, more reliable system on its way.

It will be implemented over the next two years either on old towers to save money, or brand new towers the county will build with the upgraded systems.