Phelps County Emergency Services Board (PCESB) members Thursday, Nov. 8, approved purchasing two backup radios to be used in case of an outage between the Rolla Police Department and Phelps County Sheriff’s Office.
The board approved a proposal for the radios and related equipment from Wave Internet Technologies, LLC, of Rolla, in the amount of $1,340, which includes the cost of hardware only.
Earlier this year, a lightning strike affected several pieces of equipment at the police department, including a wireless connection between servers at the police building and sheriff’s department.
At last month’s board meeting, J. Kent Robinson, counsel to the board, suggested getting a second set of radios configured that could sit on a shelf and be switched over on the tower in case a problem would arise again.
He reminded board members Thursday that the servers themselves are redundant and mirror each other up until the point of the last backup between the devices.
The PCESB unanimously approved the purchase of the radios. The only board member not in attendance was Larry Seest.
Board members also were given a second quote from Wave Internet that Robinson said would solve a problem that St. James law enforcement and emergency officials are having.
According to Communications Chief Paula Volkmer, St. James emergency officials have stated that it takes a long time when inputting information into a shared records management system.
The quote from Wave, for $2,480, would include four point-to-point radios — one at the RPD that would communicate with another on the St. James water tower near Interstate 44 and another radio on the water tower that would communicate with a radio at the St. James police station. Robinson explained that these radios need a line of sight between them.
However, no decision was made on this proposal. The board authorized PCESB Chairman Paul Rueff to speak with St. James city and police officials on the offer.
“It’s for their benefit,” Rueff said, but noted that he was not sure if the St. James Police Department can come up with that amount. It also was noted that the city would have to authorize placing the radios on the water tower.
“This would give you the same wireless technology on a law enfacement frequency that would hop to St. James and improve their performance,” Robinson said, adding that this could possibly be a test for connections to other municipalities or fire or ambulance districts.
Robinson said although it is St. James law enforcement officials who want a better connection, “we tried to establish a policy to make it easy and encourage these other law enforcement agencies to get on this program.”
He added that one idea is for the board to front the cost and have St. James pay it back over time.
Page 2 of 2 - Buz Harvey, PCESB treasurer, agreed with Robinson. “We are a countywide organization,” Harvey said. He added that his personal opinion is that St. James can pay the amount back over a three- or five-year period, if they choose to.
After Rueff talks with city and police officials, he will inform the board of the decision.