Adams County Sheriff’s Office looks to upgrade radios after digital phone upgrades

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 9:50 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The 911 system upgrade for Adams County telecommunications is prompting a change at the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

The 911 operators can now more accurately pinpoint callers’ locations with the new digital system, which helps first responders get to emergencies faster.

To get up to speed with that, the sheriff’s office really needs new radios.

Deputy Sheriff Phil Zimmerman has been patrolling for about nine years.

He said in his years of experience, he’s learned just how important it is to have working communication with his fellow deputies and dispatch.

With the analog radio system the sheriff’s office uses right now, sometimes they can barely understand each other.

“There’s been several areas in the county that we have difficulties, not only our car radios, but also our portable radios that we keep on our person,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman said hearing muffled or staticky information about a call can be downright dangerous, so he’s eager for the switch to digital system so he can get updates without second guessing what he’s being told.

“Dispatch is our lifeline, you know, they’re the ones that are sending us to the calls, they’re the ones that are updating the information on the call and telling us where to go and what going on,” Zimmerman said. “So if we can’t hear them and there’s information that we need to know about the call, you know, that could put us in a bad spot.”

Adams County Sheriff Anthony Grootens said the radio enhancements should also allow better communication with partnering agencies, like the Quincy Police Department.

“We’re often asked to assist them and they’re often [asked] to assist us,” Grootens said. “We’re too small of agencies not to be able to rely on each other and the same with the state police.”

Quincy Adams County 911 Communications Director Jessica Douglas said with the telephone system finalizing the switch from analog to digital, the next stop to ensuring better communication for officers in the field is buying and upgrading the radios.

“Our responding agencies are all in various stages of acquiring new physical radios and equipment necessary to make that transition from analog to digital as well,” Douglas said.

Douglas said the radio upgrade has not been approved or finalized yet, but she hopes to see these upgrades done within the last year.

When the radio upgrade is approved, the estimated cost is around $750,000.


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