Building a new radio system

Published 10:14 am Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Prince Edward County Sheriff’s Office initiated one of the first phases of its new digital radio system with the recent activation of equipment on a Dominion Energy tower located in Farmville.

Wesley W. Reed

Sheriff Wesley W. Reed affirmed that the goal of the new system is to better facilitate communications for personnel in emergency situations, and he said the digital system will be clearer and more effective.

Assistant County Administrator Sarah Elam Puckett referred to the equipment on the tower and its planned activation during the Board of Supervisors’ regular meeting June 11.

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“The sheriff’s (office) radio equipment is currently on the Dominion tower in Farmville, and they go live on Thursday with their new communications system, and we’ll find out where the holes are,” she said.

Reed confirmed the equipment went live June 13 as planned.

“Just like everything else, you’ve got a few flaws here or there, but our radio maintenance is in the process of correcting that,” he said.

He noted that Commtronics of Virginia Inc. is the company that has been doing the service work.

“They’ve been with us for a while, and they’re making sure everything is working decently and in order,” he said.

He stated that activation of the equipment on Dominion Energy’s tower in Farmville “is pretty much one of the first phases of our radio system, and so we’re working toward getting the coverage over the entire county that’s going to serve not only the sheriff’s office but the (Emergency Medical Services) EMS too before it’s all over and done, because once we’re allowed to go on the tower, EMS should be able to piggyback off of us.”

Puckett indicated that the sheriff’s office’s new radio system may benefit further from Dominion Energy towers when she cited two that will be built in the county in the future.

“We’ll be looking forward to talking to Dominion about their western tower and (their) ACP eastern tower, because both of those may be quite geographically advantageous to the build-out of the sheriff’s office communications system,” she said during the June 11 meeting.

Reed said the plan is indeed to be able to use more Dominion towers to help with the radio system.

“We have to take it stage by stage due to funding and taxpayer dollars — we’ve got to spend them as wisely as we can, but we still need to make sure public safety’s taken care of,” he said.