Chesterton Tribune



E911 upgrades link to new Chesterton Porter dispatch county jail pod opened

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The Porter County Commissioners have approved a contract with Comcast to provide a direct link between Porter County E-911 radio dispatch and the newly consolidated Chesterton/Porter dispatch.

According to county E-911 director of communications John Jokantas, “Currently we do not have access to Chesterton and Porter police frequencies. This will complete an upgrade to our dispatch radio console hardware and software; prior to that we had no room on the system to monitor CPD and PPD.”

Last month Chesterton’s police dispatch was moved to the Porter police station radio room as one public service answering point. Porter detectives were relocated to the Chesterton police station at the town hall.

Meeting Tuesday, north-district commissioner John Evans commented, “Chesterton and Porter officers said the changeover went smoothly. I think it’s a good merger of entities.”

Jokantas agrees. “It’s fantastic. It has a lot to do with all the planning that was done. That got them off to a great start. There are always going to be little tweaks as time goes on, but everyone involved in the move should be congratulated on it.”

The radio upgrade will cost $495 per month and Porter County has the funds to cover it. Jokantas said E-911 will see what else can be done with the connection in order to potentially save all the entities money over the long run.

On another matter, county Sheriff David Lain announced the B pod at the Porter County jail went operational Monday. The pod was constructed when the jail was built but never occupied.

Doing so added 109 beds to ease over-crowded conditions at the jail. Lain told commissioners there are now 450 beds with a current jail population of 450. In addition to county offenders, the jail also houses state and federal prisoners.

The jail has undergone $234,000 in renovations since early March as part of $1.5 million made available for upgrades from a 2012 jail-bond refinancing.

The B pod opening was delayed in part because of the need to hire and train additional jailers. Lain said despite sick leave and vacations among the jailer ranks, “We have sufficient (numbers) to be in full operation.”

At his request commissioners approved on first reading an ordinance establishing an additional deferred compensation plan option for Sheriff’s Department employees at no cost to the county. Final adoption is pending. No one spoke when Evans opened the floor to comments.

In other business, the commissioners approved on final reading three ordinances, among them one establishing new vehicle weight restrictions that increase fines for heavy trucks traveling through Porter County.

Although not on the agenda, from the audience Brian Shuford of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks said it was coincidence that he was present to ask commissioners to adopt a suggested resolution opposing attempts in Congress to increase the size and weight of semi-trucks.

On CABT’s website it maintains that bigger trucks are more dangerous, and that their heavier loads with hasten already crumbling infrastructure resulting in repair costs to taxpayers.

Evans said commissioners will take the proposed resolution under advisement.

Voting 3-0 the commissioners advanced plans to reduce the road grade and build a retaining wall at the intersection of Smoke Road and Division Road to improve line of sight and prevent erosion. Assistant highway superintendent David Jones said the project is similar to how the grade of the hill was lowered at Meridian Road and County Road 700N.


Posted 6/18/2014