BUCKHANNON – Local law enforcement officers will soon be equipped with new dual-band encrypted radios that will allow them to communicate privately with one another, as well as with the Upshur County E911 Communication Center, Buckhannon City Council members learned Thursday.
Brian Shreves, director of the Upshur County Office of Emergency Management, said the city will receive approximately $70,000 to $72,000 worth of free radio equipment, thanks to the success of a grant he recently wrote through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“What we wrote for were dual-band encrypted radios for all our law enforcement officers, and what that allows them to do is to have one radio and talk on multiple bands and have encryption-based capabilities to where if they need to talk privately with each other, or the Comm Center, they will have the ability to do that,” Shreves told council.
“And when I wrote this grant, I just didn’t write it for the county; I also included the city officers in this grant. We did this for the protection of our officers, whether they’re city or county officers, they all do the same job, and we need to protect them all.”
Shreves said the Buckhannon Police Department will receive 11 dual-band, encrypted portable radios, in addition to programming services and equipment training within the next month.
“All that we ask in exchange for this $70,000 to $72,000 worth of free radio equipment …is the single-band radios that they have now, be given back to us,” Shreves added. “We’re going to reprogram them and give them to the fire departments and EMS throughout the county that don’t have the interoperable radio system, so we’re not only helping the county and the city police, we’re helping all the first responders in the community.”
Mayor David McCauley thanked Shreves for his efforts.
“That’s amazing,” McCauley said.
Council also approved on first reading Ordinance No. 421, an ordinance amending the composition of the Animal Care and Control Commission.
“The purpose of the ordinance is to change the composition of the Animal Care and Control Commission slightly in that there will be a representative of the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility, it removes the requirement that a practicing veterinarian serve on the commission and gives the option to the city council of appointing a practicing vet or a second representative of the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility,” city attorney Tom O’Neill told council. “Also, the fourth and fifth members of the commission would not have to live within municipal limits as long as they are residents of the county.”
Councilman Robbie Skinner made a motion to approve the ordinance, which was seconded by councilwoman Mary Albaugh before passing unanimously.
Before adjourning, the city also:
-Approved Resolution No. 2017-13, which offers council’s official support for the engineering and surveying phase of the Gateway West Transportation Alternatives sidewalk and lighting project.
-Approved sending out a Request for Proposals for technical support for computer networking services and a selection committee that will include administrative and financial director Amberle Jenkins, Rich Clemens and councilman David Thomas.