Several local police agencies have not received any radios at all as part of a 40 million-dollar contract signed by the County’s 9-1-1 Board 21 months ago to improve emergency communications.
The 9-1-1 Board voted last week to hire an independent investigator to look at the September, 2013 contract with Harris Communications.
About a thousand Harris radios remain boxed-up a warehouse in Chickasaw belonging to Hurricane Electronics, Harris’ local service provider. The units run about five thousand dollars each and are supposed to be installed in every police, fire, and rescue vehicle in the county.
Police in Prichard, Chickasaw, Saraland, Satsuma, and Citronelle, however, tell News 5 that not a single radio has been installed in their cars.
Satsuma Police Chief Chris McLean says he wasn’t even aware of the program.
“No we weren’t aware of it at all, until last week when the first news article came out,” said Chief Chris McLean.
Citronelle’s chief told News 5 much the same Friday.
“I have 13 vehicles and not the first one has a new radio,” said Chief Shane Stringer.
A Mobile County Sheriff’s Deputy Cruiser was getting equipped today at Hurricane. The Sheriff’s Office reports about two-thirds of its 180 vehicles have gotten the new radios.
It seems that the smaller agencies, however, have not been part of the process at all at this point.
“It’s obviously frustrating in a lot of ways,” says McLean, “but it’s an office safety issue. Radios are your most valuable resource as an office because that’s your line of communication. “
The warranties on the radios run out in September.