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Examiner
  • County ready to move to new radio system

  • Jackson County is addressing a long-standing issue that officials have said can put sheriff’s deputies in danger – and is doing so for one-quarter the estimated original cost.

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  • Jackson County is addressing a long-standing issue that officials have said can put sheriff’s deputies in danger – and is doing so for one-quarter the estimated original cost.
     County Legislators on Tuesday approved a $4.84 million contract with Motorola Solutions of Schaumberg, Ill., for a new radio system to be used by the Sheriff’s Office, the Public Works Department and the emergency management office. The county is joining a metrowide system – the Metropolitan Area Regional Radio System – and extending service to corners of the county such as the Buckner area where coverage is spotty or nonexistent.
     An assessment of current service showed that “coverage in the ‘corners’ of the County is extremely poor, which creates challenges and even potential life safety issues for public safety personnel,” a county memo stated last month.
     “We need those radios to work everywhere,” consultant Jack Hart told legislators.
     Sheriff Mike Sharp and others have discussed the need for an upgraded system for years, but officials said a new system would cost at least $20 million. Joining MARRS cut that cost. The system will operate in the 700 MHz frequencies, as does the Independence system.
     The county will add transmitters in Oak Grove and Lone Jack and then, to fill out the system, repeaters north of Buckner and in Greenwood. The transition will take about a year. Some of the cities for whom the county handles dispatching – including Grain Valley, Oak Grove, Lake Tapawingo, Lake Lotawana and Buckner – might have to make equipment upgrades for the new system.
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