Marshall County Sheriff Matt Hassel didn’t have any good news for the Marshall County Commissioners during their meeting Tuesday morning. 

Sheriff Hassel had two issues to address, the first being the need to update all four radio consoles in the dispatch center.  He told the commissioners the current system is using the XP operating system which is at its end of life.  Most systems are using operating system 10.  He presented a cost from Emergency Radio Service (ERS) of $518,790 to upgrade all four consoles and an additional $84,511 to add an optional remote console.   There is a one-year warranty included and an additional charge for up to a 5 year warranty.

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked the sheriff how he plans to pay for the upgrade and Sheriff Hassel said, “My recommendation would be to upgrade three from the Special LIT (Local Income Tax) and the fourth one from the Central Dispatch Fund. 

Commissioner Stan Klotz asked how they would fund the additional remote console and the sheriff said because it wouldn’t be in the jail he didn’t think the Special LIT could fund it.  The Sheriff said, “Do we really need it? I don’t know.  We’ve never had a situation.”

Matt Pitney, the 911 Director who attended with the sheriff said they will be doing some equipment upgrades in the near future and it will require the county to take down the radio system completely for 5 to 10 minutes at least two different times.  He said, “During this time our radio system will be completely black.  We will have to rely on portable radios or another agency.”  He suggested putting the additional console in the Emergency Operation Center in the EMA Director’s Officer in the County Building.  Pitney said if there was an issue at the jail for example, the need for an evacuation or a catastrophic failure of some type this additional console would serve as a backup for the county.  This would also allow them to tone out for emergencies. 

Sheriff Hassel said Bremen Police Department has been our backup.  Pitney said Bremen only has one console and one person working so there isn’t room for us.  They couldn’t tone out fire and EMS for other departments in the county.  Pitney said Stan Klotz thought maybe the American Recover Plan funds could help pay for the backup. 

When asked about the timing, Pitney said once the funding is approved it will take about a year until they can have the updated consoles installed.     

The Commissioners motioned to move forward with the request to upgrade four consoles in Central Dispatch for $518,790 and a 5-year warranty agreement for $102,904.  The sheriff will now seek the County Council’s blessing on the expenditure.

After receiving approval for the radio counsel upgrades Sheriff Hassel said the jail video system is near the end of its life.  He said the system was originally installed in 2008.  Currently the jail has a Stanley Security System.  He said he asked Vermillion’s locally to offer a quote, but their video system won’t take to the jail’s security system.  A new system is $252,765 and he suggested paying for it using the Special LIT.

The commissioners approved and told Sheriff Hassel to seek funding from the County Council at their meeting next week.