Area law enforcement agencies are frequently left in the dark when storms approach.
The storms cause ionic interference, which bleeds into the transmission of radio communication to Howard County law enforcement agencies.
Currently the county leases tower space from Pinnacle Towers, which is located at the Duke (Cinergy) Building in downtown Kokomo. That lease expires on Dec. 31 and the commissioners want to move the antennas to a new location.
Commissioner Brad Bagwell said all law enforcement agencies use the current location. The ionic interference is being caused by the rusting of the metal screws.
“The more oxidation that takes place, the greater the interference,” he said. “The tower needs to be cleaned.”
The commissioners are considering moving the law enforcement antenna to the Z92FIVE radio tower or to construct a new tower at a cost of approximately $180,000.
The cost to relocate the antennas has been estimated at $80,000.
“There is space available on the radio tower,” Bagwell said. “We’re looking at putting up our own tower on property where the highway department is located.”
Before a decision is finalized the county will have soil borings done on the site and Art Fross, building superintendent, has been directed to get estimates on building a concrete pad that would be four feet wide, eight feet long and six inches thick.
Having a new tower will eliminate the interference when a storm comes through, he said.
“If are looking at a 340-foot tower,” Bagwell said. “We could rent space on any tower that was constructed.”
A new tower would improve the radio coverage to all areas of the county, including areas that are now considered “dead spots” for radio communication.
Which ever direction the commissioners decide on will require first moving four channels to maintain communication and eventually the relocation of all eight channels.
A new tower would include new antennas, new amplifiers and cabling, Bagwell said.
“It would eliminate all of the problems,” he said.