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
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
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.