Radio update may be delayed

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Local law enforcement is almost done transitioning to an updated radio system, but the work may take a little longer than expected.

Last month, the Mower County board approved a roughly $580,000 plan to update radio equipment on the 14th Street Northwest water tower near Wescott Field, a plan that would be paid jointly by the city of Austin and the county.

However, that plan may now be delayed, as the city doesn’t want the tower left unpainted if equipment and new paint can’t be completed before winter for fear of rusting. That could push the project back to early next year, according to Sheriff Terese Amazi.

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The new equipment on the water tower is intended to help improve radio signal around town for the Austin Police Department and Mower County Sheriff’s Office in poor range areas, like certain schools.

The updates are some of the last steps in the county’s upgrade from FM radio system to 800 MHz.

The board previously voted to join the Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response. Through grants, the county previously purchased about 120 radio units for law enforcement, fire, EMT officials, and rural EMT and fire officials.