GREENVILLE — Darke County’s planned switchover from VHF to the MARCS radio system will very likely be delayed, according to the Darke County Sheriff’s Office.
During the Wednesday meeting of the Darke County Board of Commissioners, Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker told commissioners the Sheriff’s Office’s scheduled April 16, 2018, transition to the Multi-Agency Radio Communications System, or MARCS, will probably be delayed due to a company contracted by the county to install fiber optic lines.
“Agile Networks [of Canton, Ohio] said they do not believe they can make the April 16 deadline,” he said, adding the county’s emergency dispatch can’t be switched over to MARCS without the fiber optics.
He said the Sheriff’s Office is seeking an estimate from the company for a date on when its work can be completed.
“We want them to commit to what they can do, so that when we put out a deadline or set another deadline, we know that they’re going to meet it,” he said, noting that all other vendors have said they should have their work completed on time.
All law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies within the county are in the process of making themselves MARCS compatible to allow for seamless communication with each other. Greenville Fire and Police Departments have already begun using MARCS radios.
“The EMS chiefs were notified at last night’s EMS meeting, emails will go out in the next 24 hours to the fire chiefs and police chiefs,” Whittaker said. He added the Sheriff’s Office will put out a press release when a solid transition date is determined.
In other business, the Board of Commissioners voted to approve $74,060.26 for upgrades to the Sheriff’s Office’s mobile command center trailer as well as a MARCS-compatible antenna at the Darke County garage, formerly the Ohio Department of Transportation garage, in Greenville.
The command center trailer can be used as a backup emergency dispatch center in case of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. The Sheriff’s Office currently uses the mobile unit during large events such as races at Eldora Speedway and the Darke County Fair. The upgrades will make the trailer MARCS ready.