Heath Accuses Sheriff of Deception and Incompetence; Monnet Feels He Did the Right Thing

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Published on December 11 2013 3:43 pm
Last Updated on December 11 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Local resident Ted Heath is accusing Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet of creating the interoperability problems experienced by local law enforcement agencies since the Effingham Police Department switched to the STARCOM 21 system and the sheriff's department decided to utilize a separate system.

(EFFINGHAM COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN MONNET)

Heath, who is now serving with Monnet on the Effingham County 911 Board, said that if Monnet and the County had continued with original plans to also implement a STARCOM system, the interoperability issues would not have arisen.  Heath's accusations of deception stem from the original move by the sheriff's department to acquire equipment with grant funds indicating that the monies would be used for the STARCOM system.  The sheriff's department instead attempted to install a high band system.  Monnet said the high band system was chosen since it would cost less.

The high band system has experienced problems with covering all of the county, although the coverage improved with installation of an antenna on top of Siemer Milling in Teutopolis.  Star Comm had a mandate of providing 98% coverage.

The sheriff said another consideration in deciding to go with a high band system was the fire departments and the ambulance service in the county with systems not compatible with STARCOM. Heath contends that it was more important that the sheriff's department be compatible with the city police department since they assist each other on calls on a regular basis so should have gone with Star Comm.

Heath alleges "great deception and incompetence" on the part of the sheriff.  Monnet said at the time the decisions were made he feels he did the right thing. 

In May 2012, our Greg Sapp and Wayne Moran videotaped interviews with Sheriff Monnet and with Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann regarding the lack of interoperability betweeen city and county law enforcement.  We have decided to again post those interviews in hopes of shedding some light on the current situation...

First, our conversation with Effingham County Sheriff John Monnet...

And here's our conversation with Effingham County Board Chairman Jim Niemann...