breaking news

Greenon students killed in crash to be honored by NASCAR team

New emergency radios worry some in western Clark County

Clark sheriff says system eventually will improve officer and citizen safety.

A $680,000 state-of-the-art emergency radio dispatch system is finally operational at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, but dead spots in the western edge of the county have some agencies concerned.

After nine months of research and implementation, the sheriff’s office switched to the new MARCS radio system Dec. 20. The system was required by new Federal Communications Commission guidelines.

The system allows the sheriff’s office to communicate with surrounding townships that are also on the MARCS system. It also provides more channels, so there’s less overlap during radio traffic and more availability to use encrypted channels during sensitive investigations, said Sheriff Gene Kelly.

However, multiple agencies on the county’s western side have reported spotty and non-existent service with the new MARCS radio system inside buildings on their portable radios.

“We believe this is only going to enhance officer safety, our ability to respond quickly, citizen safety and improve all communication,” Kelly said.

Its $683,856 price tag was funded in part by the Clark County Commission, as well as a Justice Assistance Grant and Furtherance Of Justice funds.

The village of Enon has decided to pay nearly $13,200 for additional equipment it hopes will solve the coverage issue. Council approved the measure at its meeting Jan. 22.

Enon will put mobile repeaters in its police cruisers to increase the range and power of linked portable radios and a base station in the police headquarters to be able to talk to officers on the street, according to Police Chief Lew Wilcox.

At least one repeater will be covered through grant money, Mayor Tim Howard noted.

“When we put in the MARCS radios, we said ‘We’ll try to get by with not putting repeaters in the cruisers, and it didn’t work,’” Councilman Jerry Crane said. “The way this country has gone, if we don’t have a good radio system (and) we can’t talk to anyone, that’s a dangerous situation.”

Meanwhile, municipalities like New Carlisle are waiting to see how service changes as new towers go online. That city has four contracted sheriff’s cruisers and doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on additional repeaters, City Manager Kim Jones said. Each repeater costs about $2,500.

German Twp. Chief Michael Stitzel said his department was having issues in the western part of its jurisdiction but said overall it’s a good system and a good concept, despite his fears of not being able to communicate inside some buildings.

“Hopefully the system does what it’s supposed to do,” Stitzel said. “If anything, it’s too early to condemn it. It’s still new.”

The Mad River Twp. deputy and the Tremont City and Donnelsville police departments have all experienced similar coverage issues with the new system.

Kelly said he is aware some agencies were having trouble indoors. However, he said his office have been meeting with staff from each of the affected areas and working to rectify any problems. It’s likely when the signal is boosted at towers in Clark, Champaign and Montgomery counties within the next 90 days, those issues will be solved, he said.

Clark County 911 Coordinator Michael Combs added that most issues with portable radios inside buildings will be resolved as proposed towers at Wright State University and in Clifton, which are closer and better-placed in relation to the affected areas, come online within the next three months, Combs said.

Operational towers in Troy, Dayton and near Wilberforce currently cover much of the county’s west side, though their signals are weaker due to their distance and the terrain in those areas.

MARCS engineers boosted power of the existing Troy and Wilberforce towers this month, which should help with coverage in some of the western county, Combs said.

“The service is only going to get better,” Kelly said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

Prince William reveals who suggested he and Harry walk behind Princess Diana's casket
Prince William reveals who suggested he and Harry walk behind Princess Diana's casket

After years of speculation, Prince William has finally revealed who decided that he and Prince Harry should walk behind their mother’s coffin at her highly publicized funeral. In a new documentary for BBC, “Diana, 7 Days,” Prince William said it was his grandfather, Prince Philip, who suggested the boys follow behind their...
Greenon students killed in crash to be honored by NASCAR team
Greenon students killed in crash to be honored by NASCAR team

A NASCAR team will honor two local boys who were killed in a car crash Sunday. Joey Gase’s number 52 NASCAR Xfinity Series car will sport a Greenon decal that will also feature the pictures of David Waag and Connor Williams. Waag and Williams were killed when a black 2005 Toyota Corolla they were in the back seat of went off the right side of...
Highs in the 70s today; sunny, warm through the weekend
Highs in the 70s today; sunny, warm through the weekend

A quiet but cool morning with temperatures dropping into the low 50s, said Storm Center 7  Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Staying dry into the weekend Cooler than normal temps Not much relief for allergy sufferers  TODAY: Sunshine and some late afternoon clouds. Highs in the low to mid 70s. The average or normal high for this time of...
Miles of bike path key to Central State annexation into Xenia
Miles of bike path key to Central State annexation into Xenia

The city of Xenia and Central State University are separated by about six miles along the Ohio to Erie Trail, but the bike path is city-owned, and that tether may be enough to extend the city limits into the campus. City Council members will vote tonight on the first of a series of resolutions to petition for a type-II annexation — referred to...
Well-known pediatrician arrested on child sex charges
Well-known pediatrician arrested on child sex charges

Dr. Chris Calendine was arrested Monday after a grand jury indicted him on charges of aggravated sexual battery and sexual battery by an authority figure. The 45-year-old pediatrician has a popular practice in Hawkins County, Tennessee. The charges reportedly stem from allegations relating to two boys, ages 12 and 14, and the indictment follows...
More Stories