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McKenzie in process of solving communication problem

The City of McKenzie is in the process of solving their problem with their E911 equipment for the time being.

Council members agreed to take bids on a console that will serve both the fire and police departments because it will be compatible with both digital and analog systems.

The equipment situation was discussed at length at the March 12 council meeting. McKenzie police officers have been having problems unable to communicate with each other and the dispatcher for several months due to equipment problems. It was thought to be related to an antenna that was placed at Hico instead of on the water tower behind city hall.

The problem was discussed with the E911 board members at least three times. However, the board informed city officials that Carroll County owned the equipment and not them and the city would have to be responsible for the problem.

Police Chief Craig Moates said he and Fire Chief Brian Tucker had priced digital equipment that was very expensive.

Tucker said it was believed that the best option was to add to McKenzie’s system and not take anything from Hico.

A check on the price of two repeaters and an antenna that was necessary to add to the digital system would cost $47,864.

Moates said the police department has moved away from digital and has returned to the analog system and is having a better response. He wants to remain on analog and buy a replacement for the radios. The police chief said the department would need 20 radios with Tucker needing 35 pagers.

The police chief said that system would work a lot better than purchasing $47,864 in equipment which he couldn’t recommend.

“The dispatch console will soon have to be replaced and we will have to have this,” said Moates, who suggested taking bids now and not awarding them until July because of the new budget.

Tucker said his only concern was the fact Carroll County is on the digital trunk system and Henry County is on a digital system which could leave McKenzie isolated.

E911’s top priority is trying to get service to the Westport and Lavinia areas.

Tucker said he was concerned about future changes in technology and doing away with certain equipment.

Moates said the police department has brought the analog system back on line because the digital system went down last week. However, Tucker has kept his department on digital. 

Council members gave Moates permission to purchase up to three police vehicles from Missouri. They can be paid for through the drug fund. 

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