Leachville Council moving forward on new radio system

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Leachville City Council heard a report from Fire Chief Drake Brown at the Monday, Jan. 22, meeting. Brown informed the council the fire department had answered 154 calls in 2017. This included 21 structure fires, 10 grass fires, and 123 medical calls. The grain bin rescue equipment is in and members of the fire department will begin training. Also, the tanker truck is in service.

Brown gave an estimate for a new digital radio system including 30 portable radios, 10 mobile radios and a repeater. He said he is currently pursuing a 50/50 grant in the amount of $15,000.

“We have to do something,” Brown said. “Whether the grant is approved or not we have to have the new system to allow us to communicate with our neighbors. Our police can not communicate with anyone except the sheriff's department. With the new system we can talk to anyone within the county and working on being able to communicate with Monette Police Department. We have the cost down to the basic package, just what we need.”

The system will be utilized by the police department and the fire department.

Brown asked the council to pass a resolution so they can move forward on the grant. He pointed out Leachville is the only town in the county that has not gone with the digital system except Blytheville and Osceola and they have their own dispatchers.

The council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to allow for the application of a state grant to be used for a digital communication system.

“I don't think we have a choice,” Councilman Paul Wildy said. “We have to do this.”

Chuck Brown, a member of the Leachville Fire Department and an officer with the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department, expressed his appreciation to the city for their support. He also went on to talk about police calls going through the county sheriff's department.

All of the calls to the Leachville Police Department at 539-6713 now go to Mississippi County Sheriff's Office. The dispatcher knows the Leachville officers on duty and will direct the calls to the local officers.

“It is for the officers and the citizens safety,” Brown said.

He went on to say the Leachville officers cannot be expected to stop working an accident or a medical call to answer the telephone.

The calls to the police department go to the county dispatcher and are directed back to the local police officers. There is a record of the calls.

Brown said the county has a state-of-the art dispatch center in place.

Councilman Wildy said people need to be educated on how the system works and made aware when they call the police department they will get the sheriff's department and their calls will be directed to the local officers.

Mayor Rodney Robertson pointed out the small communities do not have the funds or the manpower to put a full time dispatcher in place.

“We appreciate the sheriff's department for helping us,” Mayor Robertson said.

Chuck Brown pointed out the 911 system in Mississippi County has improved. It is one of the newest systems anywhere. He encouraged everyone to look into the website Smart 911.

The council passed Resolution 2018-1, the 2018 budget as presented. The combined budgets totaled $1,276,368.

In other business:

*Doug Master discussed the sound and light system for the Melody Theater. The council agreed to use any equipment that was still in good working condition. City workers will help him take the truss apart and see if it fits and can be put back in place.

*Councilman Wildy said councilmen had checked into the redistricting of the city wards, (a topic the council had been discussing) while they were in Little Rock. It was recommended to hold off on any changes until after the 2020 census.

*The council voted to purchase a blade for a tractor at an estimated cost of $1,299.

*Mayor Robertson said the city had been turned down for a sewer grant. One of the reasons is the city's rates are too low. To qualify for the grant the city would have to raise rates. A representative will be at the next meeting to discuss what is needed.

*Clerk/treasurer Ruth Ann Keith gave the financial report. As of Jan. 12, the city has a total of $46,119.62 available.

*Chief of Police Joni Isebell requested the purchase of four tires (two for two police vehicles). The council voted unanimously to make the purchase out of insurance funds.

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