Kennett PD Digital

Status
Not open for further replies.

zzdiesel

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Mar 17, 2006
Messages
1,880
Location
Kennett / Dunklin Co, Mo.
Supervisor explains challenges with communications

Daily Dunklin Democrat: Local News: Supervisor explains challenges with communications system, up to $200,000 in needed repairs

Kennett Missouri Police Department Communication Supervisor, Captain Mark Goddard, along with Lance Davis, of the Kennett Fire Department, explained to the Kennett City Council on Tuesday problems with the City of Kennett communications service, along with the approximate costs of $150,000 to $200,000 to totally update and repair the system.


During the presentation, Goddard noted that the committee had been studying how the City of Kennett's system could communicate on a day-to-day basis.

He added that the city's radio system was installed in the current police department building in September of 2000.

"A short time after installation a 75-foot tower fell to the ground," Goddard said.

He added that this tower was replaced by a 110-foot tower, which is still in place today.

Following the recent January ice storm, the repeater system for the fire and police departments began experiencing interference, according to Goddard.

He noted that damage was found to the antenna system and hard-line coax.

The insurance carrier was notified and determined that they would replace the hard-line and antenna at the time, but not the repeaters due to age, according to Goddard.

"Our current radio system is approaching the 10th year after construction," Goddard said. "The repeaters we have are no longer on the market and parts are not readily available to get."

He added that the repeaters were also not P25 compliant, which is an issue approaching the year 2013.

On September 6, while fighting a serious structure fire on East Dunklin Street in Kennett, fire personnel were unable to make radio contact with firefighters involved in a hose line attack inside the structure, according to Goddard. He added that this caused a serious risk to the personnel.
Goddard explained to the council that on September 24, while en route to a serious traffic accident, involving a tractor trailer unit, South of Arbyrd, on a mutual aid request, dispatch lost contact with the responding units near the City of Senath.

Also on November 19, fire department personnel responded to a possible structure fire, the location with over 140 occupants in the building, after arriving, fire personnel once again lost or had problems communicating with the fire fighters on the scene, according to Goddard.

"This was a very dangerous situation with the possibility of needing to evacuate the inhabitants of the structure," Goddard said.
He added that he could continue with other incidents, but noted that he would move to redundancy issues.

"In case of a fire, tornado, or other natural disaster, our entire radio system could be compromised," Goddard said.

He noted that this would effect the contingency of government, along with the ability to respond to the disaster.

"Separating these repeaters throughout the city would give a higher chance of survivability," Goddard said.

The city's 911 system is one of the oldest in the area, according to Goddard. He added that most departments in the area had already updated their 911 system.

Goddard explained that the committee recommended the replacement and movement of the repeaters, currently located at the police department, to allow for redundancy and steady communications. He added that this would include new towers or adding to existing towers.

Goddard noted that the committee recommends obtaining new license and updating expired license.

He explained that the committee recommends replacing equipment in each department that is not P25 compatible, along with updating the 911 system and acquiring a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) program.
Alderman Jake Crafton followed Goddard's report asking how much the improvements would cost the city.

Goddard noted that the range that the committee has received on the total project is between $150,000 and $200,000. He added that grants were not available for the project.

Mayor Roger Wheeler Sr., noted that the main issue was a fire fighter inside a burning dwelling and not being able to communicate with the people outside.

"We cannot afford to have something like that, at all," Wheeler said.
Alderman Diane Risner asked what the first priority was in the project.
Goddard explained to Risner that separating repeaters was the main issue.
"If we have a disaster tomorrow, a fire destroys the police station, our communications are gone," Goddard said.

He added that currently all of the communications are on one tower.
Crafton asked the cost of this portion of the project and if it would help with the communication signals.

Goddard noted that it would provide a back-up to the current tower.
Davis explained to Crafton that to update Fire Station Number 1 with a repeater and two frequencies, along with other material, it would cost approximately $63,960.

He added that the radios within the fire stations would have to be replaced, which would add approximately $1,900 to the cost. Wheeler noted that the council did not need to answer during the meeting, but in the future would have to face the issue.
 

semo

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
234
Location
North Dunklin County, Missouri
http://www.dddnews.com/story/1595430.html
He added that the repeaters were also not P25 compliant, which is an issue approaching the year 2013.
This quote bothers me. Public Safety is required to go narrowband by 2013 but not digital or P25 compliant. The statement is misleading. Communication companies are pushing to sell conventional digital systems needlessly. Sadly for many public safety agencies, communication companies are trying to use a federal mandate to sell expensive equipment that the FCC is not requiring.

It seems to me that on scene communication would be better to use mobile analog to talk to each other and not try to hit the repeater 16 miles away as in the Arbyrd case. Is the fire department wanting to be able to use a repeater in Kennett no matter where they go or get called in for mutual aid? They will have the same trouble doing that with P25.

Kennett should save their money and try to tie into the proposed statewide system at a later date. In my opinion, doing what has been proposed will only result in wasted money. ;)
 

wb0wao

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
328
Location
Cape Girardeau, MO
The state has put all the smaller agencies into the trick bag on the statewide system. First it was going to be a 700/800 MHz statewide system and then that was cancelled by the Govenor. Then it was resurrected as a statewide VHF P25 system where the non-state agencies would have to come up with the funding on their own to tie into the system. Latest info that I have is that sometime this spring there will be a meeting to somewhat finalize what needs to be done and hopefully by the end of the year, they will know where the sites will be located, frequencies selected and equipment needed. Then in 2011 they hope to start constructing the system and starting to get it online. They HOPE to have it finished by 2012.

Smaller agencies that need to upgrade their equipment probably won't know until mid year what they need to get. What makes it difficult is that they don't know WHERE the sites that the state will be building are going to be. If a department like Kennett goes ahead and orders a complete new system now, and then they find out that the state is setting up a site that they could have tied into, they will have "wasted" a lot of money that I am sure that they could have put to better use. But, it is probably in thier best interest to begin to update their systems to a VHF P25 system so they would be compatable with the state system.

One part of the article raises questions with me - I was under the impression that the fireground operations were on simplex outside of the standard repeater system. At least here in Cape Girardeau, the county and city FD dispatches off of their repeater systems, but all fireground comms are on simplex channels at the scene and not going thru the repeater systems - if anything needs to be relayed, the on-scene commander does that. Now if the issue is that the repeater coverage did not permit the commander to contact dispatch, that is a different issue. If they are wanting the firefighters hand held to be able to hit the repeater from anywhere in the county inside a structure, they would be better served by geting mobile extenders IMHO.
 

semo

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
234
Location
North Dunklin County, Missouri
The only problem I have with moving to VHF P25 now is that the state still does not know what its going to do. For Kennett to simply go digital will not fix the problems they are currently having. Kennett is using digital now, at least the police is, by the time the statewide system is actually implemented, the complaint will be that the radios and technology will be several years old. Kennett fire can fix their problems much cheaper now by changing the way they do things, including as mentioned using simplex for on scene communications as Cape does. Using simplex is the easiest and simplest fix for their current problems. Two hundred thousand dollars and digital radios will not fix what the complaints are in the article. Kennett seems to do things weird to me anyway, in the past two or three years for instance, the police has moved from UHF (460..3000) to VHF analog (155.1300) to now to digital (154.1000). Once again I say it is best for them to wait on the state before trying to come up with two hundred thousand dollars of their own money.

Cape Girardeau City, by the way has a great radio setup, they still use analog because they have figured out how to communicate without using expensive equipment. Cape is a great example how to use simplex for "tac" channels and repeaters for dispatch. I wish the smaller towns would take note.
 
Last edited:

wb0wao

Member
Joined
Apr 29, 2008
Messages
328
Location
Cape Girardeau, MO
IMHO, Cape Girardeau city is a perfect example of how to set up and coordinate a comm system for both redundancy and interoperability without having to spend a fortune for exotic equipment. The fire departments in the county all have the ability to switch over to another departments comm system for mutual aid. There have been a couple of two-alarm incidents in the past couple of days and I have heard on the Cape city FD system - Jackson FD, East County Fire Protection District, Cape County FD and Scott City (from Scott County) engines that were dispatched to Cape for mutual aid. It is my understanding from a couple of sources that every piece of fire equipment with a radio in Cape Girardeau County has the ability to operate on any FD system/frequencies in Cape county. Also, Cape city FD can operate on the Scott City FD and vice-versa. Technically they do not have those frequencies licensed by the FCC, but the controling agencies have given permission for them to have the capability to operate on their systems. Basically, if you are dispatched to another jurisdiction for mutual aid, you change the channel on the radio and you are there!

Cape city PD has basically two frequencies to operate on - the main system with a repeater and a simplex TAC frequency. If there is a problem with the main repeater, dispatch goes over on TAC and can communicate with all of the units within the city. I have noticed on occasion that if an incident takes place in which officers are on foot, the incident comms stay on the repeater so they can use the repeater and everyone else goes to TAC.

Dennis
 

semo

Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2005
Messages
234
Location
North Dunklin County, Missouri
Most towns in the Missouri Bootheel are actually getting smaller. Kennett probably will be around a 10,000 population at the next census. Dunklin County has around a 30,000 total population. One issue is that the small all volunteer fire depts around Kennett will often request mutual aid. Kennett responds and then has radio trouble as they try to use their repeater in Kennett. The problem should fall on the County and smaller agencies to come up with a fix instead of the citizens of Kennett. Whats odd is that the small towns are dispatched by Dunklin County 911 and some of the towns such as Arbyrd FCC Callsign WQIC811 Details has licensed frequencies but are not used by Kennett. Fire frequencies are seldom shared in Dunklin County. Rarely fire mutual aid of 154.280 is used. As I have stated earlier there are many cheaper ways to fix Kennett's problems.
 

ccravens

Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2009
Messages
17
Location
Portageville, MO
As far as Kennett's specific communication system, I cannot offer any opinion whatsoever because I don't know how they operate. However, I feel the comment about smaller communities finding a fix for the problem when Kennett responds to mutual aid calls is incorrect. Granted, Kennett can help those volunteer departments tremendously, but they do have the ability to deny the mutual aid request. If their equipment is not suitable for those situations and puts the firefighters at risk, then they should not respond. I do feel that they should have a plan of action for when they have communication troubles. After all, a back-up plan usually sucks, but it's better than no plan at all.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top