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911 Advisory Committee ‘born to handle’ radio communication issue

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

We hope the radio communication issues between the Danville Police Department and the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office are worked out sooner rather than later.

It was a positive thing when the city and county governments worked out their differences over 911 service last year and developed a new interlocal agreement that enabled a cooperative and fair partnership. That step forward not only helped bring emergency medical dispatch services to Boyle County, it also set up a process by which the partners are supposed to be able to handle any future issues: the 911 Advisory Committee.

As we reported on Tuesday, there are still problems with a recent upgrade to the DPD radio system that are preventing Boyle deputies from hearing Danville police. Earlier this year, Boyle County paid thousands of dollars — making some magistrates unhappy — to upgrade the deputies’ radios, specifically so they could hear Danville on the new system.

Magistrate Jack Hendricks was irritated last week when he questioned why, after spending the money to follow Danville to the new system, Boyle wasn’t getting what it had paid for. “The whole reason we authorized these new radios was so that the sheriff’s office can communicate with the police,” Hendricks said during the most recent fiscal court meeting. “We need to find out why they don’t want to share that channel with us.”

Danville Police Chief Tony Gray told us technical issues with getting the new system up and running have contributed to the delay in the sheriff’s office having full access. After some more fixes are done, the problem should be resolved — “there’s no ‘shut-out’ or anything” of the sheriff’s office, Gray said.

This seems like an issue the 911 Advisory Committee was born to handle. It could make a good test case of how well the committee will serve its purpose of giving all first responders involved in 911 response a seat at the table. The committee includes Gray, Sheriff Derek Robbins, Junction City Police Chief Merl Baldwin, Boyle County EMS Director Brad Ellis, Boyle County Fire Chief Donnie Sexton, Perryville Fire Chief Anthony Young and Danville Fire Chief Ken Pflug. Robbins said Wednesday the committee is due for a meeting soon; Gray said he isn’t sure a date and time can be nailed down before the first of the year.

Our 911 problems of the past occurred or were made worse by a lack of communication between local governments. Each legislative body didn’t really know what the other was thinking, and they sometimes assumed the worst when they should have given their ally the benefit of the doubt.

We’d like to see the committee address the radio issue and clear the air. It should be relatively easy to come up with a few basic pieces of info: what problems remain to be fixed; and when things will be working 100-percent. The committee members could then take good information back to their respective governments so everybody is on the same page.