Commissioners hear radio system updates

MIAMI COUNTY — During their weekly work session Wednesday, the Miami County Commissioners heard an update from Communication Center Director Jeff Busch about the county’s 911 radio system.

The Communication Center is working on improving radio coverage in Covington and looking at options for resolving “low areas” of coverage, Busch said.

One option would be to install in-vehicle repeaters in police cars and other vehicles, so the portable radios would hit the repeaters in the car instead of a radio tower. He added that the car radios are two or three times stronger than the portable radios.

“We’re still evaluating all the possibilities,” he said.

He told that board that he had met with Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) representatives and discussed the simulcast site. MARCS is a statewide radio system the county joined last fall. It lets law enforcement and emergency agencies communicate throughout the state. Several other counties in the area are part of the system, including Montgomery County.

“When we turned it over to MARCS and they opened it up to all the MARCS users in the area, it quickly started being busy. So they took everybody back off of it,” Busch said.

For MARCS to get the full benefit for paying all of the maintenance on that site, it needs to be on a larger frequency, Busch added.

Commissioner Jack Evans pointed out that MARCS “stacked up more users that need more frequencies,” and questioned why the county would have to address that issue.

The board asked Busch to go over the agreement with MARCS again.

Busch added that he’s heard from local law enforcement agencies that are happy with the new radio system.

“The sheriff mentioned the successful use of the ability of the MARCS system,” Busch said, referring to the ability to talk to agencies in other counties using MARCS.

Deputies were serving a search warrant in Piqua in regard to a series of burglaries and found a cell phone, Busch said, which they were able to use to locate one of the suspects.

“They were able to pretty much instantly be connected to task force officers in the Dayton Police Department to focus in on where the suspect was and apprehend him,” he said. “In the old way of doing things, they would have been radioing our dispatch center and we would have been calling down to their dispatch center. Now they’re all talking.”

By Cecilia Fox

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