The Porter County
Commissioners announced at their meeting Tuesday that they will match 70
percent of the cost of new 911 radios for departments in townships that lack
will need new equipment that is compatible with the county’s new 800
megahertz 911 system, which is expected to go live in March. The purchase
includes both car radios and personal radios. The Commissioners chose
Chesterton-based Bartronics Inc. to provide most of the equipment.
Active-duty Sheriff’s deputies will carry Motorolas, and the remainder of
the radios will be EF Johnson models.
Radios for high
priority locations, such as the County Jail, Highway Department, and Police
and Fire Departments in each community, will be purchased first. Some
communities and departments can use state funds to purchase the radios, but
others do not have enough. For departments in need of assistance, the county
will offer a 70-percent match, leaving them to foot only 30 percent of the
The South Haven FD
will receive $116,052.58 of the total cost of $165,789.40; the Washington
Township FD, $36,864.45 of $52,663.50; the Kouts PD, $26,231.38 of
$37,473.40; and the Hebron PD, $37,920.75 of $54,172.50. The Kouts FD has
secured federal grant money to cover its costs.
voted unanimously to appropriate $1.2 million out of hospital sale principle
to cover the cost of the radio equipment, as did the County Council
previously. Commissioner President Jeff Good, R-Center, said that hospital
principle money is viewed as sacred, but he believes the upgrade is a good
use for it. “I can’t think of anything better for spending hospital
principle money than getting our 911 up to speed.”
Good also reported
that the cost of implementing the new 911 system looks like it will come in
significantly under budget. A year ago, Good said, the project total was
estimated to exceed $8 million, but now may come in as low as $6.3 million.
Good credits collaborating with the state and cooperation from Motorola and
Bartronics for the savings.
Biggs, R-North, on the other hand, voiced concerns that residents may not be
able to pick up transmissions from the 800-megahertz system on personal
police scanners. He noted that LaPorte County implemented a similar system
and received such complaints from residents. Public Safety Director Mike
Brickner, however, said that any problems are with the scanners--not the
system--and added that residents who do not have a top-of-the-line scanner
may need to upgrade once the new system goes live. “It’s up to the public to
invest in the right type of scanner. It is not an infrastructure issue or a
radio issue for us.”