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Council approves simulcast paging system

At Monday’s meeting, all members of the LaGrange County Council voted in favor of an $888,000 expenditure of money for a new county emergency paging system.

The positive vote moves the county away from a system that is dependent on telephone lines for communication between the county communications (911) center and the different towers around the county that dispatch emergency personnel. Sheriff Jeff Campos discussed the system with council members and gave his positive recommendation.

“Currently, our system is dependent on telephone lines. Each tower must be activated separately and many volunteers (firemen) do not get page if beyond ‘home’ circle of coverage,” he stated. “On top of this there are many ‘dead’ spots in the county.”

“Simulcast cures all of these problems and is a long-term fix. In addition the program is upgradable,” Sheriff Campos continued. “I do not want to wait until something bad happens before we act on this problem. I urge you to act now.”

Campos also noted that LaGrange County REMC will be a partner in the project by contributing about $130,000 to the cost of erecting additional necessary towers.

The new system will allow dispatch to activate all towers in the county at the same time and should have a minimum 10- to 12-year life cycle.

Council also approved an additional program that will benefit merit employees at the county sheriff’s department. There will be no cost to the county for this program.

It will allow employees to set a future retirement date and lock-in a retirement (pension) rate up to three years prior to retirement. At the same time, deputies will accrue other benefits during the time between announcement and retirement.

Council approved an amendment to the pension program for deputies that will allow a survivor’s benefit be paid to someone other than a surviving spouse.