KINGSPORT — Kingsport, Bristol and Sullivan County are planning to team up with the state of Tennessee on its statewide emergency radio system, a move one Sullivan County commissioner said would save the county and its cities more than $1 million.
More than a decade ago, Sullivan County and its cities went in together to purchase a countywide, 800 MHz radio system for emergency personnel, one used by police and fire officials, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department and emergency medical responders throughout the county.
In that time, the equipment has seen a fair amount of use, worn out and failed in some respects and technology has progressed at a substantial rate. The old equipment was an analog system and is essentially considered ancient compares to today’s digital, IP radio systems that will eventually be replacing it.
“We’re at a point now where all of the stuff is worn out and we can’t replace it,” said Kingsport Fire Chief Craig Dye. “A lot of new technology has come about in the last 10 years and what we purchased is no longer being made.”
Over a year ago, local police, fire and emergency personnel established a radio committee to look at the issue and come up with a recommendation on a replacement system. While these meetings were taking place, the committee became aware of the fact that the state of Tennessee was planning to purchase a new statewide system for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.