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Clark County Public Safety Communications Network Concerns
Friday, December 6th, 2013 -- 9:20 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director

-Concerns regarding the current public safety communications network in Clark County resulted in an initiative to study the issues and recommend possible solutions.

One issue that John Ross, Emergency Management Director of Clark County, talked about was the switching to “narrow band” operations in order to be in compliance with the FCC. John said that roughly 25-30% of coverage was lost when the switch was made.

John said, "One of the things that took place is when the county complied with the narrow banding mandate by the FCC. Shortly after, it was noticed very quickly that coverage wasn't what it was before the narrow banding took place. There were some issues with coverage before narrow banding, but after narrow banding it was that much worse. This effects the Fire Department, EMS Agencies, Law Enforcement, the Highway Department, they're all feeling the impact and it's a significant impact."

If nothing is done with the current system, it could have a big impact on the county.

John said, "Well, right now we have a system that the last significant upgrade was done in the mid-1990's. We have equipment that's between 15 and 20 years old. The vendor told us that in 2017 they will no longer provide technical support so things such as getting replacement parts will not be available. Electronics can work fine one day and then fail the next or they can last for 5, 6 more years, we don't know. If we start having problems and having failures we could have issues notifying the response agencies in emergency situation, not to mention day-to-day normal traffic."

With a new study being done, John stated “We are not asking the County Board or residents of Clark County to commit to a new system at this time.” He went on to say, “We are asking people to understand there are concerns and keep an open mind as we research the situation and possible solutions. Once the research has been completed the discussion and debate can take place and decisions can be made.”

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