SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT TO GET NEW COMMUNICATONS EQUIPMENT
Sheriff Mick Epperly has obtained a grant from the State of Missouri Department of Public Safety for the purchase of new communications equipment. The grant award is in the amount of $153,378.20 and is being used to purchase new car radios, hand held radios, vehicular repeaters and a new console for Central Dispatch. The new radios are also for the cities of Wheaton, Purdy, Washburn and Seligman. Butterfield and Exeter opted not to purchase the radios as they believed their radios to be compliant with the new system being installed.
The Department of Public Safety is in the process setting up a statewide communication system and needed to use a frequency that the Sheriff’s Department had. Therefore, they were willing to put Barry County on what they called a Tier one status for the grant. Being on the tier one status, we were able to purchase all the equipment needed to be a part of this new system. The new system is expected to be operational before the end of 2012. By that time all equipment will be installed, tested and ready for use.
This new system will greatly enhance citizen and officer safety by having more efficient radio operations. The new vehicular repeaters will link the officers portable radio to car radio and boosting the signal giving the officer the ability to be away from his car and still be able to communicate as if he were in his car. Sheriff Epperly says that is something that we have needed for a very long time. The new system also has the capability of linking all agencies together on the radio that is responding to a natural disaster such as the tornado in Joplin where multiple agencies responded to assist.
The new repeater system being installed by the Department of Public Safety will be maintained by the State and relieving the County of the financial responsibility for the maintenance of those towers.
By joining the state in this new communications system and obtaining the grant for the new radio equipment saved the county several thousand dollars in purchasing new radios to conform to new FCC regulations that will be effective on January 1, 2013.