Troubled Radio System Caused An Emergency Alert In US Fort Lewis County

Date:Aug 15, 2019


The deputy of the Sheriff of the Lewisburg County in Miami recently found himself on a communications island in the middle of the night and returned to the suspicious activity report on the west side of the county.

At 2:16 am on June 7, the agent found suspicious vehicles at the intersection of 287th Street and Pleasant Valley Road - and the emergency communication suddenly stopped.

Allison Ray, communications director of the 911 dispatch center, wrote in a follow-up report: "The first officer started yelling, 'returning back to the car' and the radio was cut off." "The dispatch unit upgraded to assist and dispatch, trying Check the unit multiple times, no answer."

Another person who was only two miles away from me could not approach him by radio.

“Representatives and dispatches communicate with each other over the phone because radio communications are very bad,” Ray wrote in her report.Louisburg-Emergency-Communications-Overhaul

After hearing the latest and painful news about the county (VHF) VHF band radio system, the committee announced a state of emergency immediate state assistance at a meeting at 1 pm on Wednesday, August 14.

The emergency statement stated in part that under certain conditions, “the county’s VHF radio system experienced a complete failure. The failure applies to the rural areas of the city of Louisbourg and Miami County, which did not cause VHF communication... communication Loss can result in or significantly threaten the injury or death of citizens or first-aiders throughout Miami County.

During the committee's research meeting on the morning of August 14, Ray provided more than 70 phone calls this summer, in which radio communication was interrupted. Most of the problems occurred in Fort Lewis and rural areas, especially in the eastern part of the county, and the director of the Louisburg Police Department, Tim Bauer, said the coverage was inconsistent.

Ray made 911 calls for the committee members. Silence - often mixed with static electricity - makes everyone in the room aware that the county's outdated VHF radio system is in trouble.

“It’s totally unacceptable,” Commissioner Rob Roberts said after hearing some calls from 911. One of them recorded that the Louisburg Fire Department had difficulty receiving reports of structural fires reported, and that a wheelchair user could not leave home.

An outside company has been working with the county, but the ability to use repeaters to improve the county's tower system since mid-May has proven to be unsuccessful. Bauer chief said that repeaters exacerbated the problem because they amplified the static electricity on the radio.

The county committee has discussed plans to move to the most advanced 800 MHz system and commissioned a study showing that installing the county's 800 MHz system would cost approximately $9 million and the estimated total cost would be approximately $15 million over a 15-year period. When considering upgrade and maintenance costs. Members were encouraged to learn that Franklin County recently installed an 800 MHz system for about $5 million.

Law enforcement and fire officials say the speed of switching to 800 MHz is not fast enough. The Miami County Emergency Medical Service and the Paola Fire Department have been converted to 800 MHz.

Lei said that it is not uncommon to send multiple departments to emergency calls due to radio communication disruptions.

"When you lose communication, you don't know if the agent is in you have to send multiple units," Ray said.

On Wednesday morning, Ray, Bauer, Sheriff Frank Kelly, Undersheriff Wayne Minckley, Louis Fort Fire Chief Gerald Rittinghouse and other law enforcement officials met with county councilors.