Communications Sergeant Jim Lucas, Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick, Fred Peterson of Ottawa County Emergency Management Agency, Alan Close of Cleveland Communications.
On Tuesday, April 8, Ottawa County announced the replacement of its 25 year old 800 MHZ system with a new P25 800 MHZ radio system. The new radio system has a value of over six million dollars and went live last Thursday, April 3.
“The new system exceeds our expectations,” said Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick.
The new system, that was provided by Harris Corporation and was installed by Cleveland Communications Incorporated, was funded by grants, Sprint/Nextel funds and other financial contributions without utilizing any taxpayer dollars. Ottawa County worked with Sprint/Nextel through the federally mandated 800 MHZ rebanding order to obtain the system at no cost to the county.
“The clarity of the system is extremely better than the old system,” said Communications Sergeant Jim Lucas who is the direct supervisor over all dispatching and 911 operations. “We had a problem with coverage inside of buildings before but with the new system, that problem has been alleviated.”
Alan Close of Cleveland Communications said that the new system will still be able to be accessed by at home scanners as long as they have a linear simulcast.
The new public radio system is used by public safety officers (police, fire, EMT), Port Clinton City Schools, Ottawa County Transportation Agency, Life Flight, and the dog warden and other public organizations throughout the county.
“We didn’t want someone’s safety to be compromised because of an old, failing system,” said Sheriff Levorchick.
Peterson explained that the clarity of the new system reduces the need for repeating information which saves time. In an emergency, time can make a difference. He also said that another transmission site was added on the west end of the county to help with communication, which was also a problem before.