Summers County commissioners look to upgrade radio communications

Digital Desk

HINTON, WV (WVNS -)- County Commissioners and others gathered in the Summers County Courthouse on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 to discuss a long-standing issue in the county: radio communications.

The county currently operates on an old system that is considered outdated for today’s standards. Talking with county commissioners was 911 Director, Steve Lipscomb, who said this system makes it nearly impossible for people, such as first responders, to communicate.

“So if you’re on the far east side of the county, you’re closer to that tower. You need to turn your channel selector on your radio to that one. If you go to the west, you need to turn the channel selector to the west,” Lipscomb said.

That is why everyone is pushing to upgrade the system. Lipscomb said this current system is a disadvantage to first responders.

“It’s kind of an issue for everything. Fire departments, especially with the terrain, if they’re going from one part to another. With volunteer fire departments, it’s quite often that they rely on each other,” Lipscomb said.

In the meeting sat G.E. Wheeler with the Summers County Sheriff’s Department, who commented this is long overdue to help officers as well.

“Guys I don’t know what the answer is. I just worry about the police officers out there,” Wheeler told county commissioners during the meeting.

Lipscomb said there is a plan for a new system and a new tower to be installed near Hinton.

“It will link multiple towers in an area so that people on the east side of the county and the west side can talk to each other and the routing of the signal is done automatically through the system,” Lipscomb said.

Lipscomb also said the contractor he’s been working with on this project hopes to begin installing the project this spring. In the meantime, County Commissioners said they will work on securing funding.

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