Paul McKibben reports:
Warren County plans to spend $8 million to upgrade its emergency radio communication system that is more than 20 years old.
The county will partner with the state and join its Multi-Agency Radio Communication System. It plans to build a new tower each in Harlan and Clearcreek townships to improve communication in those communities. Harlan Township borders Clermont County. Clearcreek Township is near Dayton.
Commissioner Dave Young said the county is saving $1.2 million because it won’t have to purchase its own server. He said its maintenance costs will be $200,000 less on the state’s platform than if the county owned the server itself. Upgrading the system itself would have cost $9.2 million.
“They’d literally stopped making replacement parts a decade ago,” he said. “We literally stockpiled replacement parts and our guys literally have been manufacturing replacement parts for our system.”
The current system is analog with five towers and 15 channels. Paul Kindell, the county’s director of telecommunications, said the new system is digital and it will have nine tower sites (the two the county is building and the state is allowing the county to take over operations on its two towers in the county) and 20 channels.
Kindell compared analog to an AM radio where it gets “static and pops and cracks.” He said the county is actually on FM but it is still subject to static and noise. He said the digital system masks that out.
The new system can handle the county’s growth as the county will be able to add more dispatching positions. The current system can’t be expanded and the radio equipment that is compatible with the current system is no longer made.
The new system also makes it easier for Warren County departments to communicate with others in the state.