Starke County Radio Tower Still Causing Communication Issues

Starke County Sheriff's Department
Starke County Sheriff’s Department

The crippled Starke County Sheriff’s Department radio tower is still causing trouble for the county, as a number of fire departments noted issues at the county council meeting last night. The department in Oregon Township has been experiencing issues with communications, causing a number of pages to not be received or suffer from static problems.

Mark Allen, trustee for Oregon Township, told the council that he received a quote for a system that had been suggested by an expert. The system, he explained, is a “record-and-repeat” system that would allow them to receive the pages sent out by county dispatch. The problem stems from last year’s storms in June and July that nearly toppled the tower, resulting in a shorter tower and, consequently, a shorter range for signals.

Allen told the council that he doesn’t know what to do, but public safety is the main concern. If the radios don’t work, his department could be unable to receive a page from the county dispatch and cause a hefty delay in response time to a fire.

Councilman Dave Pearman told Allen that other departments may need the equipment as well, but a $5000 price tag is not something to be taken lightly, particularly when a new tower is in the works. The main delay in the construction of a new tower is an ordinance in place in the city of Knox that prevents the tower from being rebuilt to its former height because of height restrictions, and a new tower would be built on the site of a new county jail.

However, the council made and approved a motion to table the matter to allow time for the department and others to take note of any issues with the current system and try to find a better solution. Though, the council did express interest in allowing the trustee to make the purchase and reimburse him if it works, but the motion ultimately failed.