Earle needs new police radio

Fix will add to city’s financial woes

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Already down a police car which will cost the city over $7,000 to fix, now Earle is looking at having to spend nearly $2,000 to replace some communications equipment at the police department. Acting Police Chief Mary Fowler told the city council that the city’s radio communication system needs a new duplexor because they are having a hard time hearing transmissions. “We are starting to get a lot more static,” Fowler said. “It is hard to hear each other on the radio. We are getting a lot of ‘I can’t hear you. I can’t read you.’” A duplexor is an electronic device in a radio communications system which allows the receiver and the transmitter to share a common antenna. Fowler said the current duplexor is about 15 years old and won’t last much longer. The system is only putting out about an eight percent signal that is only reaching about six miles. The duplexor was recently repaired, but Fowler said the system won’t last munch longer and needs to be replaced. “It is very, very old,” Fowler said. “He temporarily fixed it. But the duplexor is going to have to be switched out. It can not be repaired permanently and it won’t last long.” The estimate to replace the unit is $1,695. That was not welcome news to the cash-strapped city. The city is going to have to put a new motor in its 2014 Dodge Charger which broke an engine rod because it was low on oil and hadn’t been properly maintained. The cost to put in a new motor is about $7,000. Several councilmembers expressed concern over the city’s precarious finances. “I guess we will have to look at the budget,” said Councilman Bobby Luckett. “We need the car. But we need this.” “I don’t know where we are going to get the money to pay for these things,” added Councilwoman Jimmie Barham. Fowler told the council that she would rather see the city wait to fix the car and focus on the communications system first. “We can do without the car,” Fowler said. “We can do two officers to a car. That’s fine. But communications should be a priority at this point. It needs to be fixed at some point or we are going to have zero communications.” Mayor Carolyn Jones agreed. “This is a safety hazard to our officers,” Jones said. “We need to do something about that. It has been there for 15 years.” The city council voted to go ahead and buy the duplexor and hold off on fixing the car for now. The city did budget $10,000 to repair the car.

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