Starke Commissioners Table Narrowband Radio Purchases

IT Director Joe Short

The Starke County Commissioners heard an update from IT Director Joe Short regarding the narrowbanding compliance efforts being undertaken by the county. Short told the commissioners that the compliance update is finished, and all compatible equipment has been programmed to the new standard. However, a few pieces of equipment cannot be upgraded to narrowband, and Short said those will need to be replaced.

Unfortunately, Short said these pieces of equipment will not come cheap, and the cost of not replacing is even higher; the state can fine the county $16,000 per day for using devices that have not been upgraded to narrowband standards.

Short said he has received quotes from a number of Kenwood and Motorola dealers, and these items will actually be compliant with the next level of narrowbanding expected from the FCC within the next ten years. He suggested purchasing the cheaper Kenwood radios because they are not only less expensive, but can still be upgraded down the line for compliance.

Short said the EMS department is in need of three mobile radios while the sheriff’s department requires two mobile radios and 13 handheld radios for the sheriff’s posse. The cost of the radios, Short said, would come out to $595.35 per handheld and $714.04 per mobile, which does not include installation, coming to a total of $11,838.50. A local contractor would do the installation at a relatively low cost.

However, since the majority of the handhelds are for the sheriff’s posse, Commissioner Kent Danford asked why the posse couldn’t share the radios since they aren’t all on duty at the same time. Short said that would be a possibility and the commissioners tabled the discussion to look into the possibility of sharing radios to cut down on cost.