Solution Found to Improve City, County Communication

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Published on July 25 2012 3:06 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

VIDEO UNDER STORY

Local officials think they've found a way to clear up communication problems between city and county law enforcement officers.

We told you several months ago that there have been problems with city and county officers being able to understand one another when they're out of their vehicles using portable radios.  Part of the problem was that the city, using a digital system, was communicating with the county that was using an analog system.  The resulting communication was garbled.

A bridge was demonstrated Wednesday that eliminates the garble between the two systems.  Tests were run between various law enforcement officers around the community and the tests resulted in good quality communication when the officers tried to talk.  There is about a half-second delay in the communication, but sheriff's deputy Darren Deters said, "they can hear and understand each other."

Deters said the bridge won't extend the range of the system, nor will it address dead spots in the county, but will eliminate the garble.

Deters and deputy Larry Finfrock are members of the road deputies' Fraternal Order of Police lodge and have been working on the issue for many months with Chief Deputy Sheriff John Loy. 

For his part, Loy said he had been checking out the communications during the demonstrations and gave it his support.

The demonstration was held at Global Technical Systems in Effingham, but Chris Ginder of GTS said the system should work wherever normal radio traffic is now taking place.  Officers were out around the community trying out the bridge with no complaints.

Now, the work of deciding what to buy begins.  County board candidate Ed Hoopingarner, a retired state trooper, said he'd like to see the system linked up with the State so troopers and city and county officers would have the same ability to communicate. 

Ginder said once a decision is made on what to order, the vendor pledged 30-day delivery.  In the meantime, there might be efforts to put a temporary system in place.  Wednesday's demonstration was with a loaner from Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy.

We also shot video from the presentation, and while we weren't permitted to photograph or video the actual equipment being demonstrated, we recorded a visual description by Chris Ginder of GTS, and spoke with  Deputy Darren Deters of the Effingham County Sherrif's Department. That video is below.