Greene County police going digital for future joint dispatch center

By Ryne Turke on October 3, 2016 at 6:04am

Police departments in Greene County are getting digital upgrades thanks to the area’s future joint dispatch center.

Law enforcement in Greene and Calhoun County were approved by Morgan County Commissioners in March to join West Central Joint Emergency Telephone System.

White Hall Chief of Police Luke Coultas feels the analog radios the department currently use “aren’t a perfect system.”

“As we get further away from the base system, our system becomes less and less clear. I think this is a very positive step. It is a much safer system and officers will be able to talk with each other much clearer. If they get out in the county they should be able to still communicate. We should be able to communicate with each department on a much better basis,” says Coultas

Greene County Sheriff Rob McMillen says the department is still waiting for the radios to arrive and for the West Central Joint Emergency Telephone System frequency to be assigned.

McMillen is excited to put the technology to use.

“I’ve been hearing good things from the surrounding counties who have gone digital. They say their coverage is better with clearness and clarity. Sometimes it is hard for the analog radios to get over to Bluffs and get to the dispatch center. That will make it safer for my deputies who are responding to calls or answering calls,” says McMillen.

The infrastructure of the system, which includes the instillation of radio repeater towers in the three participating counties, was picked up by a grant obtained by the joint dispatch center.

Each police department will have to front the bill for the mobile and portable radios, plus upgrades to digitize each dispatch center.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department is purchasing seven squad car radios and six portable radios for deputies. McMillen says the $18,000 purchase won’t impact the department’s budget.

In White Hall, ten total radios were ordered for officers and squad cars, at a price of $11,500.

The West Central Joint Emergency Telephone System expects to be operational in the coming months.