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home : news : local news August 28, 2014

3/17/2014 1:12:00 AM
Sheridan not thrilled to fund upgrade
By Sadie Reecer

Police radio systems in Hamilton County are getting an upgrade. However, the arrangement to purchase has not gone as smoothly as planned for some of the smaller towns in the community, such as Sheridan, putting a financial burden on town and police department, a problem that has been rooted in the county for over 40 years.

At Sheridan's Feb. 27 bi-monthly town council meeting, Chief of Police Bob Shock was called upon to give a report about the Sheridan Police Department, commonplace for most meetings.

During his report, he updated Town Council President David W. Kinkead and the rest of the council members about the plan to replace and upgrade seven of the department's radio systems, totaling $19,539 which is financed by the county to be paid quarterly over five years.

"They upgraded the radio system, and more or less, we have to purchase [new radio systems] or we cannot communicate with the county," said Silas DeVaney, Town Councilman and Police Commissioner in Sheridan.

Although all the towns in the county are participating in the same upgrade, Chief Shock has managed to put the town's cost at the lowest number in the county. "Originally the dollar amount for what they wanted us to purchase was a lot higher," said DeVaney. "But then Chief Shock went through and brought it down to the bare minimum."

The Hamilton County Department, which includes the sheriff's office, takes the cake for requiring the most cost, which makes sense, as they cover the entire county. On a town / city-level, Carmel's new equipment will cost the most at $1,071,052. Fishers is next at $935,031, then Noblesville at $829,167, Cicero at $33,900, Arcadia at $22,948, and then Sheridan at the bottom.

While it is good news for the town that they are inquiring the least amount of cost compared to all other towns, it is still something that many of the council members are not pleased to have to deal with.

In the 1970s, Kinkead worked for Sheridan's Fire Department, a time in which the county had the same type of plan to upgrade the systems. "When they put the 911 system in originally, it was going to be X-amount of dollars per phone, but then before it was done, [the cost] was double," said Kinkead. "It never has worked 100 percent all these years.

"When the whole project started, everyone else in the state of Indiana went with Motorola radios," he said. "Hamilton County went with GE. Now, the GE's aren't compatible. If we had had Motorola radios, they could be converted over to this new system.

"This whole deal isn't about Sheridan, Arcadia, or Cicero," Kinkead added. "This is Hamilton County's radio system. We live in the richest county in the state of Indiana, and they've got a $63,000 nest egg they're sitting on. They can go across county lines and buy buildings by the airport that we might need in the future, but we can't take care of public safety? That is Hamilton County's responsibility, in my opinion."

Each quarterly payment will come out of the town's police department fund, and after Chief Shock's report on Feb. 27, the council agreed that they did not have much choice in whether or not they should approve the town's police department spending for radios.

"That bill should have never come to us," said Kinkead. "They should have upgraded every radio, every tower, every antenna, and at Hamilton County's expense, not ours. We had no warning that it was going to cost us, and it wasn't even part of the budget. They sprung it on us after the budget was approved."

The Sheridan Town Council will meet again at the town hall on March 27 at 7 p.m.

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