New emergency communication system to drastically increase cover - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

New emergency communication system to drastically increase coverage area

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A new emergency communication system in Hopkins County will be affecting every first responder.

"If we're standing out there and the police are in a foot chase or the fireman are standing in a backyard and they need to be able to communicate with the dispatch center with a hand held radio, they cannot do it right now," says Wade Simons, a lieutenant with Madisonville Fire.

The current radio system has been in use since the 1950's. Officials are about halfway done with a new digital system drastically increase coverage area in Hopkins County.

A new P-25 digital radio communications system has been an ongoing process since 2004. The infrastructure for the $2.8 million project is beginning to take shape.

Three communication towers are required for this system to run properly. The first tower at Madisonville Community College is completed. Work has begun on the second tower along I-69 in St. Charles, with the third in Charleston.

Hopkins County Sheriff Frank Latham says the difference between the old and new systems will be night and day.

"The new system the quality should be crystal clear, no background noise, and it should help every responder that's in the county," Sheriff Latham says.

First responders have begun doing preliminary testing with the new radio system.

Hopkins County sheriff Frank Latham tells me that about two years ago when there was a shootout in Hanson, communication with central dispatch was impossible. He hopes this new system ensures that will never happen again. 

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