Matthew Arvin, staff reporter
The Clinton County Central Dispatch Office is working to eliminate radio interfered zones in the county. By doing so, the county says it will improve its communication system.
The county budgeted for the construction of two new communication towers in 2010. The project should be completed by 2015.
Craig Longnecker, the Budget Director of Clinton County, said the project is already beginning to improve coverage in the county.
“Phase one was to put a tower in the southwest corner. We have done that, and it has definitely improved our coverage,” Longnecker Said.
One tower has been built in the southwest corner and another tower will be built in the southeast corner in 2015. Preliminary work for the second tower will begin by late 2013.
Longnecker also said that the counties reasoning for the placement of the two towers is based on population growth and location of the dead zones.
“We have experienced a fair amount of growth in the last decade or so, mostly in the southern tier, and that’s why we chose that area to construct new towers and upgrade the system, so that we can get better coverage in that area,” Longnecker said.
The new towers will also improve public safety. The police, fire and ambulance units will be able to communicate with the central dispatch more efficiently. This will improve response times.
Christine Collom, the Clinton County Central Dispatch Director, says the new towers will improve portable communication, which in turn increases public safety.
“Portable coverage is always your weakest link, so having multiple towers and the ability to reach the closest tower, always improves someone’s ability to get back to central dispatch,” Collom said.
In addition to the construction of the communication towers, four counties including Clinton County will all be sharing a new phone system. The four counties are: Ingham, Eaton, Livingston and Clinton County.
Lance Lincoln, Ingham County Central Dispatch Director, said that one of the benefits of sharing a phone system is that it will reduce cost.
“Instead of each county having to buy their own stand-alone system, it allows us to use a system that each of us can tap into so that will reduce cost,” Lincoln said. “It makes it very easy for us to push calls to each other because we are on the same system.”
“We will be going live with this telephone system within the next two or three months,” Collom said. “It will be the first shared phone system like this in the state of Michigan.”