Council votes to repair PD communications

The Atlanta City Council last week approved spending almost $30,000 to repair police department communications equipment.
Due to problems with the police department’s antenna and associated wiring, the department has kept communication up and running of late by using the city’s public works channel, City Manager David Cockrell explained. That’s led to issues for public works.
“What they have done is they have commandeered the public works frequency,” Cockrell said. “So, police is operating, not on their frequency, but they’re operating. Public works isn’t operating.”
Much of the emergency communications equipment the city uses, for both police and fire department dispatching, is new, thanks to grant funding that helped upgrade the system. But the equipment that is being replaced now is upwards of 20 years old.
“We have brand new consoles, brand new radio equipment in the consoles at dispatch,” Cockrell said. “And we have brand new repeater systems. What’s not new is the … wiring going up to the police antenna; the police antenna is not new.”
The planned upgrade will see the police and fire departments use a single antenna, Fire Chief Robin Betts said.
“What we’re proposing to do is use that one antenna for fire and police. … We can come down to what they call a separator, so if Jay (Police Chief Jay Womack) is talking (on the police frequency) and I’m talking (on the fire frequency) it will separate it out,” Betts said.
Cockrell asked the council to approve the project, declare it an emergency situation and waive competitive bidding, which they voted unanimously to do.
The council also approved a resolution supporting the Texas Department of Transportation’s efforts to study future route alignments of Interstate 369, which will connect Interstate 30 in Texarkana to Interstate 69, which extends to the border with Mexico.
According to information on the TxDOT website, “I-69 is a proposed national interstate that extends from Texas to Michigan. The Texas route includes several existing roads: U.S. 59, U.S. 84, U.S. 77 and U.S. 281.
“In 2011, the first section on I-69 was established. Since then, TxDOT has been using the recommendations of the I-69 Citizen Committees to further plan and develop I-69 Texas.”
Cockrell said, “The Metropolitan Planning Organization up in Texarkana has already passed a resolution asking for an alignment study for the future IH 369 corridor.”
He later added, “How’s it going to get around Atlanta? This resolution is going to be business that you would rather take care of sooner rather than later. Once we get a route defined, we can say, ‘OK, we’re going to reach out and touch that thing as a community so that if it’s not in our corporate limits, we’re going to want it -- unless it’s way far out -- we’re going to want to serve that with utilities.”
Atlanta officials want to have input in the process, Cockrell emphasized.
“I communicated with the mayor of Queen City and the city manager of Linden … It’s my understanding that everybody is going to try to get very similar resolutions passed.”

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