The Marshall County Commission and Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims discussed two separate issues involving the new P25 radio system.

In September of 2020, all law enforcement and first responding agencies in Marshall County entered into an agreement to use the P25 radio system. According to officials like Sims, the new radios will allow all agencies to communicate with one another seamlessly.

Sims and Marshall County Emergency Management Director Anita McBurnett expect the new radio system to be in use by October. During Wednesday’s Commission meeting, the county entered into an agreement with Farmers Telecommunication to have a fiber line installed from the Wyeth Mountain communication tower to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center.

“This fiber line is going to be needed once we get the radios and start using them,” Sims said.

This will cost $400 a month and will come out of the sheriff’s budget. Sims also asked the Commission to help with securing a large number of radios before the price increases.

“If we buy the radios in bulk now, it’ll cost about $20,000 less than if we did it down the road,” he said. “We can enter into a 5-year lease plan with the company that makes them now and get the discount. I’m willing to do pay for that 5-year lease out of the Sheriff’s discretionary fund.”

The Commission had to add the item to the agenda as it was not on it prior to the meeting. Marshall County District 1 Commissioner Ronny Shumate questioned adding the item.

“We have a rule that says nothing can be put on the agenda after the Thursday prior to a Wednesday meeting unless it’s an emergency,” he said. “Do we feel like this is an emergency?”

Sims answered, “The amount of money we would end up spending if we didn’t do this is enough to consider it an emergency in my opinion.”

Commission Chairman James Hutcheson asked the commissioners if they had any problem with it. All of them said they did not and it was passed unanimously.

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