Calling for help

Cole County commissioners want to meet with Jefferson City government leaders about concerns over radio service compatibility for the Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Greg White told commissioners Monday that Jefferson City police recently notified the county that the 911 Center would be undergoing maintenance this month to put in an uninterrupted power supply unit.

The Police Department runs the center.

During the power supply installation — which is expected to take about a day — police officials planned to dispatch officers from the department’s Capital Mall offices.

But, White said, that plan won’t work for the sheriff’s officers because the city doesn’t have the capability of dispatching on the Missouri Statewide Interoperability Network (MOSWIN), which the sheriff’s department uses.

That system is a network of communication towers, base stations and communications software that allows law enforcement agencies to communicate across jurisdictional lines.

The system meets a Federal Communications Commission mandate that all public safety agencies in the United States operate only in a “narrowband” mode after Jan. 1 of this year.

Under a contract with the city dating to 2010, each Sept. 1 the county automatically renews its agreement allowing the sheriff’s department, county ambulance service and fire districts outside Jefferson City all to use the city police dispatchers for emergency and other calls.

White told commissioners Monday that, unless they can get things worked out, he would not recommend renewing the contract.

However, White said they are looking at using the mobile emergency operations center, which does have the capability of dispatching through the MOSWIN system, while the 911 Center’s power supply installation is being done.

Jefferson City Police Chief Roger Schroeder confirmed that idea in a letter to White.

Schroeder said he believed the matter would be “effectively resolved to the satisfaction of all involved.”

The police chief also said the city decided not to participate in MOSWIN due to “obvious financial and functional misgivings.”

Schroeder wrote: “The effective and efficient operation of our emergency communications center was negatively impacted by your decision to move to MOSWIN.”

He also said the new system keeps them from being able to communicate car to car with sheriff’s deputies.

White said his deputies actually have more contact with the Missouri Highway Patrol and other outside agencies than they do with JCPD officers, so getting on the MOSWIN system made sense.

The sheriff also said it was his opinion that ultimately the 911 Center should be an independent operation.

“Times change, technology changes so you have to adapt,” he told commissioners.

Commissioners urged working as much as possible to make things work.

Eastern District Commissioner Jeff Hoelscher pointed out that the committee overseeing 911 hasn’t met in approximately a year, so bringing all parties together could help clear up what needs to be done.

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